Tag Archives: wheel of the year

Summer Solstice 2018 – Elemental Tarot Spread

Happy Solstice All!
 

Left - Potato blossoms. Right - Buttercup squash blossoms.

Left – Potato blossoms.
Right – Buttercup squash blossoms.


 
My zucchini, cucumbers, and even buttercup squash are blooming! So are my tomatoes and snow peas and fava beans. So are my mustard and radishes, which means I need to regularly give them a haircut while I continue to harvest them as greens! (Don’t worry, I’m letting the radishes go to seed so they can continue to self-seed around the yard).
I set up my cucumber trellis the other day, and it hasn’t yet fallen over, so I’m counting that as a win.
Praying for LOTS of squash – cucumbers, buttercups, butternuts, and zucchini – this year. Prolific, fruitful plants and low-to-no squirrel/rodent/critter damage please. ❤
 
Summer Solstice – I did a "tell me about right now / where do I go from here" question using the Four Elements Spread from Little Red Tarot's Alternative Tarot Course and the Next World tarot deck, and here’s what I got:
 
Me Right Now: Arsenal (The Four of Pentacles)
Earth: The Fool
Water: The Team (Three of Pentacles)
Air: Temperance
Fire: The Empress

 
Me, Right Now – Where I’m at, what my situation is: Arsenal: I’ve long understood the 4 of Earth to be a card about tenuous shelter. Being afraid that nobody will have your back, being just barely able to make ends meet, having a roof over your head… for now. And part of me is feeling this. Like every summer, this is already a summer of hustling. Last year, I worked for part-time jobs at the same time. This year I’m technically working three, although one of them really only amounts to an hour/week, so I’m not sure it counts. I checked my bank balance earlier today, and it looks like I’ll have the rent in the bank before the month turns over (Hurrah! And also Thank You Gods and Ancestors and also the receptionist who frequently takes time off AND the various artists who hire me frequently because they know modeling is my main income source. Every bit helps!) AND, based on gigs already booked for July, I’ll be able to make August’s rent as well. And knowing that, fairly confidently, in advance is a BIG fucking deal.
So seeing this card as my “Me, right now” position is… not wrong.
But the Four of Earth is also Virginia Woolf’s “Room of One’s Own” to create in. It’s the home as sanctuary (both holy place and place of rest and safety) that Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha writes about so frequently. It’s a reminder of what I’m aiming for, of what makes me happiest.
 
Earth – The material, financial, bodily. Security and abundance (or it’s absense/unsteadiness): The Fool: When I drew this card, I laughed. The fool is someone who is going in a direction where they don’t know what the outcome is going to be. In the write-up for this deck specifically, Cristy C Road says that this particular Fool made the decision to walk away from the security of following the status quo, in favour of something riskier but truer to themself.
I look at this and go, “Okay, kind of?”
I told my wife that I was thinking I needed to find a one-year full time gig – just because it might be easier to find than the part-time permanent office work I’ve been looking for as an anchor income – and she got really quiet on the phone. She told me later that the thought of it make her really sad.
Because here we are, two self-employed people working in art/isan fields, trying to make a go of this. And we’re not quite making it yet. The instability of it is scary. The work is fulfilling and I’m good at it, and I don’t want to give it up.
The Fool is about taking risks, “following your bliss”, trusting the process, and doing the “foolish” thing that goes against conventional wisdom.
Okay. But, hoy, I hope it pays off in the end. O.O
 
Water – The artistic, emotive, spiritual stuff. The heart stuff. The feelings you have about your feelings: The Team: The three of Earth is a card about teamwork, but it’s also a card about making sure your work actually gets recognized. Seeing this card in the “Feelings” position is, like… It’s a combination of “Be aware that the stories you tell yourself about how your feelings (and wants, and needs) don’t matter and will never be prioritized are, y’know, bullshit. Saying what you want/need/feel is RISKY – or at least feels that way – but it’s necessary and you will be happier, by and large, if you actually do it” and “Pay attention to how much social and emtional maintenance/support work you’re doing in your various interpersonal relationships and don’t over-offer, or otherwise do all the work or (let yourself) get taking advantage of”.
 
Air – Mind, thinky thoughts, morality and values, decision-making stuff. Where’s your head at: Temperance: I mostly know this card as one about balance. But I find it interesting to see the Cristy writes her own interpretation of Temperance as being about both (a) self-care that comes with personal maturity and a willingness to listen to what’s needed, but also (b) self-forgiveness.
I think this is how I want to read this card in this position. Forgive myself my past mistakes. Forgive myself the wrongs I’ve done, or thought, and strive to keep making myself better every day. Forgive myself my failures and give myself permission to learn from them and to try again, and then again, and then again. Don’t let (don’t keep letting) my brain weasels and their stories get the better of me.
 
Fire – Drive, passion, Will, and where you’re putting your energy: The Empress: I was pretty happy to see The Empress in this position, because I am putting my energy there. But it’s also Midsummer, and I’m putting my energy into my garden as well as my art. I want to tie this card to the “where you are right now” of the Four of Pentacles, because the Empress asks: Are you treating Home Maintenance as a chore you have to slog through in order to Be A Grown Up, or are you treating it as a series of little rituals that make the everyday holy? I’m reading this as a call to (continue to) connect with sensuality, artistry, and embodied spirituality going forward. Because who doesn’t want that? 🙂
 
So there I have it. A weather report and some suggestions for where to aim next (or keep aiming – the FeelingsWitch over at Tiny Lantern Tarot says that healing works on its own timeline and tends to happen in spirals not straight lines, and… they aren’t wrong).
 
I’m off to wash dishes, tidy surfaces, and harvest rhubarb for Midsummer Pie.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

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New Moon – Berry Moon Begins

There are strawberries juuuuuuuust starting to ripen in my neighbour’s garden. There are service-berries juuuuuuuust starting to ripen on the trees around my neighbourhood.
There are no actual local berries (unless someone’s got super-early haskaps that I don’t know about) that are ripe just yet BUT by the time this moon waxes to full, there’s gonna be. So we’re calling this one berry moon.
I live in hope.
(Hahaaaaaa… I’ll get to that in a second).
 
So! The new moon’s in Gemini. Venus is (for the moment) in Leo. Summer Solstice is only a week away! We’ve been having thunder showers, muggy days, and kind of weirdly chilly evenings, this week.
I had a rotten day yesterday, and a good day the day before, and it’s been a reminder that accomplishing things makes me feel better about myself. Buying groceries and baking All The Things and harvesting the garden and doing a load of laundry makes me feel better about myself. Writing a poem makes me feel better about myself.
I have no idea how much of this is due to the whole capitalist notion that our value lies in what we produce or how much money we have, versus how much of this is due to the reality that moving around, tending things, and creating things, actually ARE good for me.
It’s probably a bit of both.
 
Beth, over at Little Red Tarot, talks about how Gemini (my rising sign, as it happens) is the sign of both/and. This new moon is a good time to write up a manifesto about personal integration (a bit like what Ms Sugar talks about when she talks about Black Swans).
She suggested a Gemini New Moon tarot spread on this subject, and I went ahead and did it.
Element of Self 1 (a theme/undercurrent in your life): Ace of Swords
Element of Self 2 (a different theme/undercurrent in your life): Five of Swords
What Unifies These Elements: Knight of Cups
How Can This Integration Be Expressed: Knight of Pentacles
 
The Ace of Swords is a mental multi-tool (literally, if you’re Cristy C Road). It’s a card of thinking things through, overcoming adversity, using your head. It’s a card of honesty, of seeing through illusions, doing what’s right and wanting what’s fair. It’s a card of communication, clarity, and self-awareness.
 
The Five of Swords, on the other hand, is a card of frustration, black-and-white thinking, and zero-sum games. In the Osho Zen deck, this card is called “comparison”, and it’s about… keeping your eyes on your own paper, striving for personal bests rather than worrying about being better (or not) than someone else. In the Next World tarot, however, this card is called “survival”, and it points to the way that people in Bad Situations will do unethical things in order to get what they need.
 
It’s weird to see the unifying theme of these two air cards be presented as the Knight of Cups. I mean, yes, this particular knight can succumb to the uglier side of Comparison through feelings of jealousy, insecurity, and inadequacy, and can also work the feelings side of self-awareness, seeking the Why of things, striving for self-improvement and understanding. So maybe it’s not that weird.
If my “Black Swan” is a combination of my best (Ace of Swords) and worst (Five of Swords) selves, than the way to be that fullest, truest self, is by being the Knight of Cups. (Ha… The artsy poet who wears her heart on her sleeve and likes pretty things and romance. Oh, hai…)
 
BUT… How do I express said Knight of Cups? Apparently by behaving like the Knight of Pentacles.
I think… Look, I tend to tie the Earth and Water suits together pretty closely. Partly because they’re both inward-focused elements – intimate & introverted rather than exhibitionist? In-so-far as those things can be thought of as having no overlap, which isn’t really the case – and partly because they’re both creative elements. But mainly because emotional stability and material stability are so tied up with each other.
However I think this reading is saying that the way to Be Your Black Swan without being, say, massively self-destructive or making a lot of the same mistakes over and over again, is to balance it out.
So, YES, be the knight of cups.
But balance the dreamy sentimentality and big-picture creative vision of Water with both the prudence and the step-by-step diligence of Earth.
 
The folks over at Hoodwitch tell me to “[Y]ou can knock it out of the park, but you have to remember what you came here for,” and I think that relates to this spread, and the integration of my best and worst Air characteristics through the art and heart of Water. Remember what I came here for, and then actually get it done.
 
Actually, on a related note, Chani’s Affirmation Horoscope this week (Scorpio) talks about the importance of maintaining and strengthening connections with collaborators, with people who support and encourage your best self, your most courageous self, and about noticing and figuring out the (internal and external) Stuff that gets in your way when you push to put yourself, your creativity, your Most You You, out there.
 
This is all kind of relevant (“kind of”), right now. I’m still job-searching. Which… if ever there was a process designed to tell you over and over that you’re worthless and nobody wants you? It’s trying to figure out how to word your extensive resume in a way that will let you look “good enough” to someone who wants professional experience in exchange for an entry-level wage, so that they will maybe deign to call you back. It’s super frustrating, and very scary at the same time. Because I feel like I have to be either/or, rather than both/and.
I want to use this new moon Both/And energy to help me with my frankly threadbare income quilt in a way that doesn’t feel like I’m coming from a place of scarcity or desperation.
 
The card I pulled for my Tarot Card Meditation was the Seven of Earth from the Silicon Dawn deck[1].
 

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn Seven of Wands (which in this deck means the 7 of EARTH) A small, hooded figure (who might be a Jawa), holding two walking sticks, stands in the doorway of a crumbling brick building. There are five branches lying on the ground in front of the door.

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn
Seven of Wands (which in this deck means the 7 of EARTH)
A small, hooded figure (who might be a Jawa), holding two walking sticks, stands in the doorway of a crumbling brick building. There are five branches lying on the ground in front of the door.


 
This particular seven of earth, with its crumbling building and cryptic, stick-based messaging system… is kind of creepy, tbh. Like the Collective Tarot’s seven of bones, which is just a bunch of teeth falling everywhere, a reference, I think, to that dream where your teeth crumble and fall out of your head, to tell you that everything is fucked and you can’t handle it.
Other interpretations are a lot more hopeful (haaaaaaaaaaaaa). Like the Next World image of an old lady selling home-beaded jewelry by the side of the road, labeled “Vision” (and Saturn in Taurus); or the Osho Zen version, which features a calm-looking, heavily pregnant person and a bunch of moon phases, and is called “Patience”. The Wildwood seven of earth is even called “Healing” and carries notes of divine intervention.
 
So what does this mean?
In a long-ago post, I talked about how the sevens are all linked to both hope and action, but also that this seven in particular touches on the fact that things take time.
 
I feel like I’m running out of time.
It’s an awful feeling.
It took ten years for me to build a modeling career. A career that I’m proud of and find fulfilling and that I actually enjoy. And I feel like I’m going to have to give it up, in order to take on work that pays less, wastes my time, depletes my creative energy, and makes me feel physically and emotionally like crap.
And I don’t want that to be how this goes.
 
So. Talking to my lovely wife over the phone, I told her about pulling this card, and what I said was: You may have to re-evaluate some stuff and make some choices. But don’t be hasty about it. You are going to start seeing results, the work you’ve been diligently putting in WILL start paying off. Just be aware that it takes a little while.
That it takes the heart-on-your-sleeve hope (the willingness to take risks and be vulnerable) of the Knight of Cups combined with the methodical action (like composition, editing, cold-calling, querying, and sending out submissions) of the Knight of Pentacles to get the results you want.
 
Summer Solstice is a week away. The sun – and all the things it metaphorically touches on – is at its biggest and boldest. It’s the point when all those seeds you carefully planted start to (literally or metaphorically) bear fruit.
While it’s hard to hold onto hope, especially when it feels like most of my seeds have germinated and then withered before they could really get established, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for patience, for healing, for the chance to decode some secret, stick-based message, and get where I need to be going.
 
I’m modeling for a photography class in three hours.
I’m going to methodically get myself ready, put together a couple of looks for people to take photos of, do my hair and makeup (qua kosmesis), and then go Be Art for an evening.
And tomorrow?
Tomorrow I’ll light my altars and write some motherfucking poetry.
 
 
~*~
 
Movement: Has mostly been walking, this past couple of weeks. Yes, there’s also been gardening, but mostly my movement has been based around getting from place to place.
 
Attention: The wildlife in my back yard has multiplied. Babies every damn where. They are cute and also mildly worrying and, as such, are pulling a lot of my attention.
 
Gratitude: Grateful for the rain. For the zucchini plants starting to flower. For bread that rises. For rhubarb that grows in determined profusion. For ice cream being on mark-down. For yoghurt I can make from scratch. For a friend who shipped me cute and fancy clothes (and makeup and perfume, and the tiniest coach bag ever) from an entirely different country, just to help me out and make me smile. For $5 bags of un-dyed cotton crochet thread. For time to experiment. For old, beloved books. For not having to get up at 6am, three days a week (silver lining, right?) and for modeling coordinators who hire me because they know I need the work, and because I was brave enough to ask for it. For long baths. For friends who trust me. For a wife who thinks I’m beautiful and holds onto me all night long.
 
Inspiration: The deep, deep blue of a nearly cloudless sky, late last night when I walked home from my modeling gig, after an evening that was all thunder and rain. The bright gleam of those distant stars. The way the bee-balm and bleeding hearts come back, year after year, even in thin, rocky soil.
 
Creation: Urgh. I made a rhubarb-berry coffee cake and rhubarb muffins this past week. I also wrote one (1) poem. It’s okay. But more to come, right? More to come! 😀
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] So, when people design tarot decks, they often rename the suits. The suit of “earth stuff” (security, abundance, material things, bodies & embodiment, physicality, cash, housing, food, legacies, room-mates, relatives, etc), for example, which is traditionally called “pentacles” has been renamed a bunch of other things. Rainbows. Bones. Stones. Lots of things. In the case of the Silicon Dawn deck, from-which I drew the above card, the suit of “Earth Stuff” has been renamed “wands”. Which is annoying, sure, but not the end of the world. So I’m going with it.

Full Moon – Flower Moon Crests

The dog roses bloomed the day before the full moon (in Sag). The lilacs are out all over the place. My self-seeded radishes and crane’s bill are blooming and my columbines, sage, peonies, and even bergamot are well on their way towards bursting into flower.
Flower Moon indeed.

Close-up shot of pale pink pavement roses (dog roses, salt-spray roses) with green leaves as the blurry background. Photo by ThePantherAleo Courtesy of Wiki Media Commons

Close-up shot of pale pink pavement roses (dog roses, salt-spray roses) with green leaves as the blurry background.
Photo by ThePantherAleo
Courtesy of Wiki Media Commons


 
The Full Moon in Sag – like all full moons – relates back to the New Moon that was in the same sign, six months ago. Looking back, I see that, six months ago, I was writing the Goals post for my Empress Project and trying to get myself to Dream Big rather than over-thinking and self-sabotaging my hopes and plans.
Which is… not out of line with what’s been going on in the past 8 days or so.
 
I did a tarot reading this time last week – a three-card draw suggested by Liz Worth in a guest-post for Biddy Tarot:

1. What do I fear about myself?
2. How can I face this fear and move past it?
3. What can I accomplish as a result?

 
The answers I got were:
1) The Empress (U) – Which, given my ongoing Empress Project, I’m interpreting as “I’m afraid of my own success” (just… see below for more on that one).
 
2) The Three of Swords (R) – Grief, sure, but grief that you are allowed to let go of. Recognize that Now is not Then. You are not going to be punished for reaching past scrabbling survival or for wanting things beyond being allowed to continue existing (ish).
 
3) Temperance (U) – Feeling centered and secure, finding the right mix, achieving some balance, flourishing. (Isn’t flourishing what the Empress is all about?)
Which…
You guys, the day I did this reading, I got invited to a job interview for a part-time office job, walking distance from my house. With benefits and a (likely) starting salary that, even pro-rated to three days/week, would cover our basic living expenses reliably and consistently for the foreseeable future.
 
The interview was on Monday.
Lunar-cycle-wise, that’s an amazing time for a job interview (almost-full moon in an energetic, get-up-and-seize-the-day Fire sign, with everything else in stable, secure, resourceful Earth).
I’m hoping that helped me.
I’m hoping everything helps me.
I have no idea if, or when, I will head the results but I have been straight-up harassing my gods and ancestors and everybody else who might potentially be listening about this. I am kind of feeling (exhausted from) what Ms. Sugar calls “getting in a staring contest with the universe“.
I’ve also been having Big Feels about not “deserving” this. Impostor syndrome. The fear that, if I don’t keep myself small and scared, some nebulous Big Bad is going to come along and hurt me to make sure I “stay in my place” (which is desperate and needy and never allowed to have enough). This weird, stupid, doesn’t actually make any sense, suspicion that my wife wouldn’t be having Extra Joint Pain right now, if I hadn’t been so “greedy” as to want us to be able to reliably make ends meet and potentially make them overlap.
It’s messed up.
I want to stop feeling like this.
But, tbh, even more than that? I want an email offering me that job. I’ll deal with, and hopefully banish, the imposter syndrome once I know that our rent & groceries are for-sure going to be covered.
 
But for the moment, I’m waiting. Fighting off anxiety. Distracting myself by reading YA novels (which is great). Working in my garden – the fava beans are coming up. So is the red mustard and (maybe) blue kale and dill (only one, so far) from my friend, who held the job I just interviewed for, along with the chard I seeded, and reseeded, and then seeded again (FINALLY). My tomatoes, cukes, zukes, potatioes, and winter squash all seem to be getting their roots in well. The sorrel and lovage I planted are getting their feet in, too.
I am hoping the flourishing of my garden, the re-balancing of its soil by giving it a good feed and planting some nitrogen fixers, will work as a thinking-in-things spell to help me be open to my own success, my Empress flourishing, to invite in those things ( like this job, Universe ) that will help me do and be all of that.
 
Today’s Tarot Card Meditation draw was the Eight of Pentacles.

Eight of Bones – Collective Tarot
A ribcage with eight ribs. There is a chrysalys nested in the sternum over (or in place of) the heart. Below the ribcage, fiddlehead ferns are starting to unfurl.


 
I like this card.
The eights are all about hope. Even cards like the eight of cups, where the hope is less obvious (letting go of something, which can be painful, in order to make space for something better to come in). But this particular card is about both (a) super-relevant stuff like finding a new job, and also (b) doing the day-to-day “carry wood, fetch water” stuff of making life happen.
The above picture is from the Collective Tarot, but I did my draw from the Next World deck. Cristy C Road calls the 8 of Pentacles “Creation”. It’s a picture of two people, obviously proud of what they’ve made, standing in the foreground of stacks and stacks of paper (what looks like a self-published zine, chapbook, comic, guide, or similar).
Other versions of the Eight of Pentacles consistently touch on the honing of a craft, on diligence, on putting in the effort and attention to tend something that matters to you. The Next World rendition is very much in that vein.
But the Collective Tarot’s Eight of Bones talks about something else. The chrysalis under the rib cage. The “new normal” that’s been growing this whole time you (I?) have been breathing, learning, and baby-stepping forward. The heart that is developing, that is ready to emerge.
 
If I have a wish – beyond the very specific “let me get this job” that I’ve been praying and chanting and spell-casting for all week – for this full moon in Sagitarius, it’s this:

Let Me Thrive!

 
~*~
 
Movement: LOTS of walking. The heat has arrived (YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!) and… I have totally forgotten how to walk long distances (for a given value of “long” meaning about 5km at a time) in hot, hot, humid weather. BUT I’m walking a lot. Digging in my garden, planting seedlings, pulling unwanted plants (quack grass and dog-strangling vine, almost exclusively) and harvesting greens. Going dancing on Saturday night, too. 🙂
 
Attention: I strongly suspect that the content of this post has detailed where most of my attention has been of late. However, I’m also paying attention to what’s coming up in my garden (and what isn’t), and what it needs to thrive. I did a lousy job of taking care of it last year, and I’m hoping to do better with it this time around.
 
Gratitude: My wife, who smiles at me and tells me she loves me all the time. The people who are willing to sing my praises to a potential employer, should they call. Dandelions, grape leaves, Vietnamese garlic, garden sorrel, mustard greens, radish leaves, and other goodies that have been doing their duty as our vegetables of late. Honouraria for working a “learn to mend” night at the OTL. Connecting with other queers. Clothing swaps. People showing up for each other when someone needs support. Having a spare room in-which to temporarily house someone (er… we had a 15-year-old stay with us for a couple of days while she was between group homes). The smell of wet earth and fresh, clean rain on just-mowed dandelions in the yard. Getting that interview and it (probably?) going well. Ancestors taking care of me. Goddesses who listen. A big, gorgeous full moon to look up at. Warm, gentle nights to walk home in. Extra modeling work. New poetry in the mail. The smell of flowers – lilacs and roses and the last of the crab apples – heavy in the air. It’s a beautiful time of year.
 
Inspiration: I have new poetry to read, and I’m paging through Kitchen Table Tarot, Modern Tarot, and She Is Sitting in the Night, trying to gain some new perspectives on my numerous decks of cards. I’m also drawing inspiration from my garden, since it’s waking up and making magic of its own right now.
 
Creation: Right now, a lot of my creative efforts are being put into trying to get the Universe to give me what I want. So my activities are less about poetry and more about getting my garden in shape to keep feeding us, and getting the Wider World to, well, like me enough to get me a stable and sustainable working situation. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please. Beyond that, while I’m still working on finishing my moon-inspired poetry chapbook, I’m finding that food and plant imagery is finding its way into my work – because: garden – more and more. Hoping to get this one finished before the next New Moon, but we shall see.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Leaf Moon Crests (Lunar Beltane)

“Leaf Moon” is feeling like a somewhat less over-optimistic moniker. It’s still cold. The rainy afternoon didn’t actually turn to snow, but that was luck as much as anything else. I’ve been sipping soup, and clinging to my coffee mug for warmth. I even turned the heat back on.
But.
That soup, while it was mostly just boiled-down bone stock plus a nest of glass noodles and a few pinches of dried garden sage, was also the first meal featuring 2018 garden veggies.
Yeah, you heard me! 😀
The Vietnamese garlic is up.
The dandelions and nettles are up[1].
The chives (garlic and onion/”typical”) are up.
And I harvested some today – just dashed out in the drizzle and snagged a handful (the nettles are so young that they mostly don’t sting yet. Mostly. Not “not at all”) of delicate baby greens to add to my soup. And it felt really good to do. They’ve added such a nice, bright, not-exactly-acidic flavour to my little, low-effort meal, and it just made it, y’know?
So I guess my “Happy Beltane” (a couple of days early, unless we’re talking Lunar Beltane) celebration is eating fresh-harvested veggies from my own yard.

Thank you all my beloved gods, my ancestors, the spirits of this place, for keeping us fed and holding us up. ❤

 
Which I guess brings me to this full moon in Scorpio.
Scorpio the deep-diver, Scorpio that is so linked to the Moon card in Tarot (patterns, instincts, cycles, and the secrets we keep from ourselves), Scorpio that is my Sun Sign. But also, because it’s Beltane, Scorpio the sex fiend.
 

 
At New Moon, I said my goal was the Find the Wonder. Writing this post, a couple of weeks later, after having applied for a Community Job (and with plans to apply for another office-oriented job, once the listing goes up), and having agreed to start sewing dog accessories again[2], it’s a good reminder to keep looking for that Wonder, to keep instilling daily activities with magic, with prayer, with holiness.
But, in addition to finding the Wonder, I also want to take this magnolia-blossom promise of a full moon in Scorpio, and find the pleasure.
 
I wore a ball gown to a birthday party last night, and told my numerous cute friends that they looked good. This morning, I set up a baking date with a friend – a former professional pastry chef – to make macarons from scratch in late May (Ms Sugar and her obsession with all things Aspirationally French would, quite possibly, be proud). I smeared “honey bear” massage balm across my sternum (heart chakra) and from hip to hip (delta of venus / second chakra), to call some sweetness and sensuality into my sexual and romantic energy centers and put on casual-&-comfortable but also eye-catching and pretty clothes that let me show off my own particular femme glory before heading out for an evening of listening to queer, femme poets and story-tellers talk about their wonderful new novels at Writersfest. I hugged my friend, who I haven’t been in the same room with in several years, and it was SO GOOD to see her, even if it was only for a few minutes (she’s here for work). I am sipping a “Pirate Princess” cocktail (Irish cream whiskey + spiced rum) as I’m writing this.
I keep thinking of the Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha poem “all my prayers to Oshun are like this”, where they say love is all this shit – meaning fresh produce and summer days just after the rain has cleared the humidity a bit and friends who love you and eye-catching, affordable, dangly earrings[3], and sharing cheap wine with wonderful people[4].
Love is all of this stuff. Not just the sex I may or may not be (having difficulty) having.
Which brings me to:
 

Queen of Receptivity Queen of Water Osho Zen Tarot Deck This queen of cups is simultaneously a human body and a lotus blossom

Receptivity
Queen of Water
Osho Zen Tarot Deck
This queen of cups is simultaneously a human body and a lotus blossom


 
Tarot Card Meditation: Queen of Water
I am loving just how appropriate my meditation-draws are becoming.
Like the astro poets saying “Yes, Desire is endless” (which is maybe a bit more like this version of the Queen of Cups). Like how she is all about “deeply fulfilling pleasure, abundance, and thriving in both body and soul“.
 
Tomorrow will be a day for tidying the house – finding the sacred in doing this series of seriously mundane tasks, finding the pleasure in warm, soapy water, in lit candles, in an uncluttered coffee table, in (hopefully) open windows letting in the (hopefully) spring air. For running errands, for baking goodies (brownies, strata), and for lounging on my (tidy) couch, reading Casey Plett’s Little Fish while I wait for my company to arrive. To enjoy the oven’s warmth and the good smells that come with cooking. To enjoy the company of my friends. To find the wonder and the pleasure in all the little things I get to do.
 
~*~
 
Movement: Stretchy-bendy exercises and affirmations continue (though I have totally been slacking off today). Going dancing next weekend. Got out for a long walk on a lovely, warm enough (to sit on a patio in a coat) afternoon and then ate nachos and drank cider with my wife. Did a high-energy (40-60 thirty-second poses, followed by 20-odd one-minutes, and then slowed things down a tiny bit) modeling gig, which is basically Power Yoga, and got through it even though I was having a bad[5] back pain day.
 
Attention: Paying attention to opportunities, to my wife’s emotional state, to what my lower back and hips are doing at any given time. But also paying attention to the green that’s coming back, to the food plants that are coming up in the yard, to the flowers that are starting to bloom, to the swelling magnolia buds on the trees, to the seedlings that are sprouting (finally!) in their peat pots.
 
Gratitude: For this body that is stronger and, therefore, in less pain, than it/I was this time two years ago. For a heart that mends (however slowly). For friends who forgive me when I’m late. For being able to find the venue reliably. For bonus money that let me buy new books. For being flexible on timing and date nights. For a wife who loves me and will talk to me when she’s feeling overwhelmed or freaked out about stuff. For central heating. For dandelion greens and nettle sprouts and Vietnamese garlic fronds ready to be harvested and eaten. For grape hyacinths in the front garden. For the chance to sleep in tomorrow morning. For modeling work that keeps coming, even in the slow months. For unexpected opportunities. For complements on my jewelry. For friends who are happy to see me, even multiple days in a row. For new books. For spring coming, slowly but surely. For hope.
 
Inspiration: Went to a panel featuring Amber Dawn, Casey Plett, and Joshua Whitehead, and I am so excited. 😀 CanLit Queer Femme Powerhouses for the WIN. 😀 I’m brought my notebook and also my wallet, and I now have three new books and lots of sweet, wonderful autographs. ❤ My People are amazing. We are ALWAYS amazing.
 
Creation: The chapbook continues. I’m mostly down to editing at this point, though the poems that need Actual Rewrites are definitely a factor (I’ve got… maybe two re-writes left to do?) but… I think this counts as creation. I came up with a vegan brownie recipe that, in spite of being on kind of the dry side (needs mashed black beans), was a total hit (even with The Children), and that counts as creation, too.
 
 
Take care,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Yes. Dandelions, nettles, wild grape, garlic mustard, lambs quarters, wild mustard, sow thistle, and all the other “weed” greens are listed as vegetables in my books.
 
[2] If this Scorpio “reveal all the truths” moon has anything to tell me, beyond “You still think so-and-so is a babe” (which is not news to anybody), it’s “Wow. I really, REALLY don’t want to go back to the Dog Stuff Factory”. Doesn’t mean I won’t do the work, but holy moly, that’s hitting me a LOT.
 
[3] Which, P.S., Joshua Whitehead said my earring game was on point, and I Will Never Wash This Hand Again, as the saying goes.
 
[4] Which reminds me, I have one such Wonderful People coming over tomorrow, and I need to pick some up to go with dinner.
 
[5] Which… those physio exercises are WORKING because what counts as a “bad” day now? Was a NORMAL day two years ago. Thank you all the gods and ancestors, holy moly. O.O

Full Moon – Melt-Water Moon Crests (Spring Equinox, Venus in Taurus)

I’ve been Spring Cleaning.
To some extent anyway.
I talked on twitter, the other day, about turning about turning the compost and the Ceremonial Piping On of The Manure from my childhood in New Brunswick. How doing that little bit of preliminary, seasonal garden maintenance was a sign that Spring had sprung.
I put the Solstice decorations away, that same day. Washed a lot of dishes. Noticed that the rhubarb was crowning.
Maybe it’s because Venus just moved into Taurus (the planet of material goods, sensuality, and beauty moving into the sign of Home, sensuality, tenderness, and all the pleasures life has to offer, whose ruler she is), or maybe it’s because it’s finally warm enough out to open the windows and let a breeze through the place, but my wife and I have both been feeling the call to Clean All The Things.
 
I’m relieved that the rent is in the bank, and has been since last week (good thing, too, since I didn’t have a lot of work booked for the second half of March), so I’ve been using the quiet days I’ve been given to putter around the house, slowly tidying and putting things away.
It feels like a solid week since I wrote a poem. That’s not a bad thing. Ebbs and flows are real and necessary. I feel like this is a recharging time, however brief it’s going to be.
We’re heading into Eat From the Larder Month, and getting the kitchen in order – especially with a week+ of full time work kicking off in a few more days – is a pretty high priority right now. Besides, getting the place a bit tidier – clean sheets on the bed, laundry done, lots of counter space to work from in the kitchen – is good for my brain. I’m already feeling more relaxed than I was two days ago when I started this little project.
 
It’s pretty cloudy out right now, so I can’t see much of the full moon. None the less – and even though the bath tub is still full of sheets[1] – I feel like I’m having a bit of a pause-for-breath moment right now. My wife is away for the weekend, visiting her partner who’s house-sitting for an out-of-town friend. I’m treating myself to a glass of shiraz and an indulgent read of a favourite piece of fanfic.
Tomorrow, there’ll be bread (and maybe muffins) to bake, kombucha to decant, vacuuming and sweeping up on the main floor, and an Easter dinner to get to at my mom’s place. But for now, I’m enjoying the quiet.
I’m also enjoying the different kind of creative that comes with home-keeping. The methodical rhythm of making yeast dough, cooling green and hibiscus teas for the kombucha, slow-roasting veggies in the oven, meal planning, putting books back on shelves, darning socks and knitting new garments one stitch at a time.
It’s like a reset button.
I know I can’t do this 100% of the time. Partly because constant entropy of Doing The Dishes feels more like drudgery than the in-and-out breath of a functioning kitchen. And partly because I need to make money (fingers crossed that Venus In Taurus will help me get some extra work booked for April, particularly on the Mars in Leo front, if you can believe it). But also because I need to take the gentle four-on-the-floor beat of a house’s steady heart and turn it into poetry, stories, crafting, the kind of creativity that produces something other than necessities.
 
With that in mind, maybe it’s not surprising that the card I pulled for my Tarot Card Meditation was the King of Fire.
 

The Creator (King of Wands) A bald person in flowing red robes holds a glowing energetic light between their hands

The Creator (King of Wands)
A bald person in flowing red robes holds a glowing energetic light between their hands


 
Otherwise known as the Mentor of Keys, the Visionary of Branches, and the Throne of Fire, the King of Wands is a glamourous artiste who dares to stand out and to stand by their creative work. Enthusiastic and innovative, this joyful, passionate art freak is bold enough (and vain enough) to take risks, take action, try something new, and put themself on display.
 
As someone who’s been making a point of submitting poetry to magazines for… four months now, this is pretty relevant to my interests. It’s a reminder to keep at that, keep working on my two in-progress manuscripts, and keep being brave and sending stuff out (without getting too demoralized when the rejection letters periodically come in).
The King of Wands is ALSO Venus in Sagittarius. Carefree, playful, happy to have built-in boundaries like geographical distance or time-bound scenes in place. This is also relevant to my interests, if only because my Venus is in Sagittarius (however-much I may act like my sun sign where the heart is concerned). It’s a reminder to play, to make time for dates with my wife and flirtations (that might or might not go anywhere) with new people.
 

~*~
 
Movement: The usual Walking Everywhere, a couple of modeling gigs that focused on Very Short poses (2 minutes or less, for 2+ hours… it’s like doing power yoga or something), but also the addition of Get Bendier stretches to my weekly routine. Monday mornings (usually) I do a few gravity-friendly stretches to help build core/lower-back muscle (like, more than just plank) and stretch the tendons in my legs. I’d like to try learning Areal Hooping (I picked that link because she’s tall… ish), and part of that means developing a little more flexibility in my legs than I currently have. Beyond that, I’m looking forward to going dancing a little over a week from now.
 
Attention: Generally speaking, I’ve been paying attention to the mess of my house and making an effort to un-mess it. It’s working, and I feel better because of it. Also, the fact that the rhubarb is coming up again has most-definitely not escaped my attention.
 
Gratitude: For the rhubarb crowning. For warm days walking with no mitts, my jacket open and my hair down. For discount foundation at the drug store. For a morning date with my wife before she left for her weekend away. For friends who will lend me gardening equipment that I don’t personally own. For lemon-pie flavoured yoghurt on sale at the health food store where I went to get yeast (twice, because I forgot the first time). For a strong body that can carry heavy loads home from the grocery store. For beautiful, beloved trans and cis baby queers being their wonderful, creative, resilient selves in the face of every hardship – you give me so much hope and joy. For a breeze from the open window. For clean sheets on the bed and clean dishes in the dish rack. For unexpected door prizes. For queer femme excitement and encouragement wrt my Femme Glosa Project. For a very full larder to draw on for the next month. For a patient landlord. For gig-employers who try to find extra work for me. For the rent already being in the bank. For the smell of humid, thawing earth, crocus leaves already poking through the topsoil. For quiet nights spent reading. For the chance to go dancing in big, fancy shoes. For a tiny bird, and a big lady, and a lot of friends who love me. ❤
 
Inspiration: I’m still working on femme glosas (hit 30 poems, not too long ago!) and attending VERSeFest on a night when two queer femmes – Kama La Mackerel and Rasiqra Revulva – were performing DEFINITELY helped on that front. I’m also working (still) on my moon-inspired chapbook, and trying to take honest inspiration from my own life, rather than being vague or trying to be “deep” or “shocking” about stuff.
 
Creation: See above, re: poetry. I’ve also finished the waistband of my eventual hand-knit thank-top/shell, and have started picking up the stitches for knitting in the round. I’ve got something like 400 stitches still to pick up, but I’ve technically started Part Two, and I feel good about that. I’ve also got Plans to make bread (and maybe muffins) and start a ferment of shiitake mushrooms (dried and reconstituted, to be fermented in salt water with thyme and garlic) tomorrow. It’s all creativity in some form or another. Wish me luck.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] I finally got around to soaking some stained sheets in vinegar and salt water, which I’m hoping will help get them properly clean. Beyond that, I’m not sure what to do, since bleach isn’t much of an option for colourful stuff. Suggestions welcome. >.>

Eat From the Larder Challenge 2018 – Week 0

So. Spring Equinox has come and gone (and it’s clearly past time for me to change up my Seasonal Decorations…). Meltwater Moon is only days away from full. I’m cautiously starting to think that maybe Spring Has Sprung (barring, y’know, an April dump of snow, which usually happens even if it generally gets gone in short order again) and I’m eyeing Preserves.
I have something close to two dozen pints of crushed tomatoes, put up last September, that I have yet to use.
I’ve also got sweet preserves (goblin fruit jam, chokecherry curd) and a LOT of frozen veggies – especially sunchokes, which my wife’s been having trouble with this year – still to eat through.
As such, I think it’s time for another round of the Eat From the Larder Challenge.
 

A collection of half-cup and one-cup mason jars full of savoury preserves, made by me.


 
As you may recall, the Eat From the Larder Challenge was invented by Erica, over at NWEdible, as a way to clear out some pantry space (and also prove that it could be done) before the impending influx of garden produce that, for a chick living in Seattle, was already starting in April and would only take off further once May hit.
I’m not in Seattle.
My growing/foraging season starts a solid 3-4 weeks later than hers does. But the challenge, itself, is a good way to remind me that actually, yeah, I know how to cook.
Which I haven’t been feeling, of late.
Honestly, I’ve been feeling like a crap home-maker lately – the place is a mess and I think I’ve made bread all of twice in the past six weeks when I’m used to thinking of it as a thing I do every week. I’m hoping that throwing a bit of a creative challenge my own way will – in addition to clearing out some freezer/cupboard space – get me excited about, AND back in the habit of, cooking from scratch in ways that go beyond boiling rice or roasting a chicken.
 
Right now, I’ve got a new batch of soup stock on the stove. Usually, when I make stock, it’s bones and maybe a few herbs and water. This time I’ve added a couple of branches of garden sage (dried), the better part of a jar of crushed tomatoes, a cup or so of white wine[1], some dried mushrooms, and a couple of handfuls of papery dried onion skins. I’m hoping to get at least 12 pints of stock out of this, ideally closer to 16, and I don’t think I have nearly enough bones to make a good, thick, “meat jello” stock in that quantity. So I’m adding extra stuff that will bulk up the umami factor (tomatoes, dried mushrooms) and otherwise add some flavour to what might end up being really watery. It’s not ideal but, having drawn up 30 dinner plans using what I (am pretty sure I) have in the cupboards and the freezer, I know a solid six (minimum) of those meals will be tastier (by our standards) if I cook the grain and legumes in meat stock.
 
Anyway. Rules for this year’s challenge:
1) Focus on using up the meat and frozen veggies hiding in the deep freeze, where I consistently forget about them now that I’ve got bags of beets and onions crowding the top (aka: the door) of the freezer.
2) Try to include lentils or other legumes in as many dishes as possible because (a) fibre, and (b) stretching the meat components of the meals that much farther while still making filling, delicious dishes.
3) I am allowed to buy milk/cream, eggs, wine, and Ethical Coffee (though I miiiiiiiiiiiiiight not need the coffee) during the month of April, though I should still try to limit these items (like: don’t make every dinner a quiche, right?). I can stock up on cheese ONCE, if (and only if) it’s on hella discount. I can also buy Ethical Chocolate, but not more than one bar per week. Restaurants/coffee-shops for socializing are allowed, but really REALLY need to not be relied upon.
4) Focus on making sweets at home! I have tonnes of flour and a lot of different sweeteners, including the above-mentioned sweet preserves. Oatmeal mixed-berry muffins, fruit-curd pies with shortbread crusts, peanut-butter & chocolate-chip cookies, rhubarb-cranberry crumbles/crisps/etc!
 
My April is looking pretty lean in terms of modeling work right now. That’s normal, and I’m lucky to have a week+ of temp work lined up to help make up the income I need. But it means I’ll have lots of time to get creative in the kitchen.
Thank goodness.
I’ll need it, but I’m also looking forward to it.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

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.
 
 
TTFN,
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.