Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gift Horse Inspection Time

I learned to do natal charts over the weekend. The free ones online always have such strange explanations. We did mine, which was a little odd, but then so am I. My guy's was enviable in how clear and true it rang out his life's work, successes, and dangers. It's a good life, full of good things, and I am grateful to be tied to it.

What was I expecting to see in mine or hear in a practiced interpretation? I'm not really sure. Deep down, I thought it might spit out my destiny or life's work and tell me what I should be when I grown up. Like it would say, hey! your Saturn is in Taurus, so you should be a firefighter. Unfortunately, I'm already grown up, and the star-predicted path of eclectic jobs and erratic income levels is one I know well. It makes it hard to get ahead or make big goals to work toward, since being on the corporate ladder feels more wrong every rung I ascend.

It explains the abject failure of all my giant, magic-fueled attempts to swan dive into an Important Career. It's incredible to know that I'm not failing my destiny doing what I've been doing. It means time to grow things, to harvest them from nature, to make things, to learn, to make home a haven of beauty, rest, and comfort. Yet it feels like I'm failing to not put my smarts and skills into a Profession of Vast Earning Potential.

The thing basically said that my role is to support Mr. Career over there, to be domestic, to be artistic, to have a quieter more flexible life. That's really cool. It's what I wanted to do my whole life. But to have it spelled out makes me a little sad and jealous, as though what I am called to is lesser, not very special, or even invisible compared to what he's doing. He would never think that, would be upset that I feel this way. We all want to be special and respected. I fear that I won't be because he will always overshadow me.

Perhaps this is less about astrology and more about hidden marriage fears. If I take myself out of competition with him, I won't be a superstar overachiever anymore. Doing what's right and good for me isn't a failure, but it seems that way at the moment. It feels like giving up the potential of being self-sufficient. Lies, lies, lies...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mother Mary Full of Grace Have Mercy

I put together a Queen of Heaven altar this afternoon to try and balance some of the Mercury mess happening in this house. Several years ago, I found this awesome antique piece in the back of a junk shop and am madly in love with it. I love Mary. Growing up fundamentalist Evangelical Christian, this is a monster taboo. I secretly prayed the rosary and bought icons when I was in Romania. When my mom was little, Mary would come to her in dreams, hold out her hand, and huge roses would unfurl from tiny buds as a gift to my mom. I love that.

In Greek, Mary is the Blessed Theotokos, meaning "light bearer", since she bore Christ. What that actually means in application is that she is the immortal one who literally births light and truth, bringing mercy to the world in a way that transcends all time. I think that's so beautiful, to have this woman who straddles life and death, working for us and mothering us and shepherding us with forgiveness on our bumbling paths. I adore Mary. Gestation and birthing of the complicated, large-picture truths of situations is a theme in my spiritual life. It's clear that it's something I am called to. I identify with her.

It feels fantastic in my little room here now, so peaceful. So lovely. I'm never afraid of her, only filled with gratitude and joy to approach her.

Mercury retrograde for the living and the dead

Mercury cannot get out of retrograde in Leo soon enough. It ruins relationship communication, throws off finances, and it makes my man distant and angst-ridden. This one had a big birthday (his) and a hellacious depressive episode (mine). Kind of a perfect storm of astrological clusterfuckery. We need a break from Mercury. I'm cleaning physically and spiritually today, then heading to west Texas for a weekend of creativity and witchery and jello shots.

Mercury rules communication, but when you communicate with the living and the dead, that gets complicated. It gets weird. I don't seek out the dead, never have, and don't think of myself as someone who really works with that. Never mind the riding of hedges, dreams and visions, and lifetime of observing spirit manifestations. Oh yeah, and the fact that they just show up and talk to me.

It's something I need to learn better control over, and until that happens, I'm being as careful as I know how to be. There are things you don't trifle with. Right before the retrograde period, my maternal grandparents showed up in the living room one morning when I was wondering about who would speak to me through a medium if I ever went to Lily Dale. It was a sweet time, healing some things that were left unfinished when she died, telling me how proud and happy they were about my engagement. Really nice, right? Mercury goes retrograde, and when I think about that, what is basically a shade of her shows up, animated but empty of a soul or anything, looking like she probably looks in her coffin now that she's been in there for a few years. It's horrible and rotten and wormy. It's hard to get it to leave.

I am so tired of bumbling through dealing with the dead. I don't know who to ask or learn from. I don't know what to make of signs sometimes, whether they're signs or gifts. Just this morning, Bo the familiar and I went to get coffee. In the closed up car, sitting in the driveway, a good-sized black feather dropped into my lap. As in materialized. It's the kind I used a year ago in my raven Halloween costume. Ravens don't live here, so is this an animal omen or a gift for the altar? Things are just weird right now. I hope this weekend with the ladies will offer up some answers or at least a respite.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I haven't been feeling incredibly witchy lately. Depression has been a bear these last few weeks, and I don't like working when I can't focus and my energy is icky. Things are getting better now, I think. We're having a terrible drought and heat in Texas. Everything is moving so very slowly, people and animals. The plants are all dying, even with watering and all the care I know how to give them. We're all out of sorts down here at the moment.

Since it just didn't feel like the right time to do a lot of work, I worked on building the skills and knowledge I need for when my energy does come back to normal. What does that mean? It means experimental making of mead in small batches. You can make some too! I've been dying to try my hand at sacred mead for specific holidays and purposes, and I'm thrilled to have found a way to dip my toes in without having to buy the full brewing setup.

This is the first batch. It has an especially delicious kind of apple in it, local honey, cardamom, cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and culinary-grade rosebuds. My giant man and I are considering making wedding mead for our fall celebration. It would be awesome if it tasted good, it would be cost-effective, and we have a little time to find a great date and time and moon to make sure it's full of all the good things one would want. I'm really hoping we don't make vile mead on the trial run...

This is our backup batch, made with oranges, cloves, and currants. It's a supposedly fail-proof recipe. The bottles have punctured balloons on top to let gasses escape as it ferments, while keeping contaminants out. (Don't worry - wedding mead will be made with all the gizmos and tools.) I think it looks like I'm making prison wine, plus we're keeping it in the guest bathroom since it's nice and dark and cool in there. Classy!

Harvest has officially begun, but with the plants dying and everything dried out, there's not much to wildcraft into mead or anything else. Instead, I'm examining things I've learned in the last year, examining thought patterns. The good lessons are treasured and enjoyed and kept, while the rest is taken by the wind. Even though there is always bitter alongside the sweet, I'm not going to preserve the bitter parts this time around.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Right before harvest came, we did a lot of divination. Asked about Big Life Things and interpreted communally. When you read for yourself often, it's fascinating to have someone else do it for you or do it in a group. When that voice is different than my own, sometimes I have a hard time taking it in and letting it be. I want to circle around and find loopholes - especially when what I've been told is a truth I might not have been ready for or if it rings with the interpreter's voice rather than that of the Fates.

I've been reading through my tarot journal, seeing what I have been harvesting and sowing in small doses. Most of the readings I've done for myself, alone. Tarot is something I like, something that clicked the first time I picked it up. The dangerous part of reading for yourself and never getting another's voice in there is that you can recreate the narrative in small twists. Paint things different than they are because you want to see them that way. The cards will fight you, they should, and it's strange to look back and see the places you so wanted a certain result, got a different one, and the cards told the truth all along.

The tarot is a funny thing. People put so many rules and superstitions around it, keep it mysterious and veiled. As if all those cards can't be mysterious to the average bear without any help. It's a living thing with a personality and preferences. Even when you try and twist its voice, you can't hide from the truth you got told. That's especially true in matters of the heart. Looking back over the last 2-3 years of readings, I can't believe how stupid and willfully blind I was in patches. It makes me wonder if there are places I'm doing it now, assignations of meaning that don't quite seem right. Sometimes more will be revealed and make sense of itself in hindsight. I hope that's the case, that there are good things I'm too close to be able to see clearly.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lughnassah Signs and Symbols

If something happens in conjunction with a ritual or a working or some life thing, I generally know how to interpret it. Like we were considering buying a foreclosed home that perfectly met every last one of the criterion we had around a house - 3 blocks from campus on 2/3 acre with lots of room, an interesting floorplan, and killer long-term rental potential. But it had nasty, expensive issues that were being candy-coated, and I could just tell that the house knew me for what I was and wanted us strongly enough to be casting a sort of glamour (a witch's house if ever there had been one). We went to see it with our realtor a second time, and in the back yard, a huge doe had gotten in and was to panicky to find her way back out, even though it was easy and obvious. She got still and locked eyes with me for a long minute, and I just KNEW we needed to walk away. Deer are important to me, and while they mean different things, I know what's being communicated when one shows up.

Now, back to the most recent holiday on the calendar, when this happened:

The hand-blown glass candlesticks I took forever to find exploded in the middle of the night without making a sound, even though there was glass shattered all over the altar and the cement floor beneath. I was awake because Bo dog was going nuts in the special way he does when spirits other than the usual ones are in the house. His bark is even different and clear in its communication for nice vs. not nice spirits. Somehow, this never wakes up the man o' the house, who wakes up for things like dog farts. (no kidding)

I'm sure the physics of heat have something to do with it. But it was a weird night. The kind where something's definitely going on, but it's not bad or malicious. Just kind of foreign in how it feels. I accidentally rested my hand on the glowing ember of incense - which hurt at the time - but left no mark. The usual animals weren't outside, but instead a huge, fat, gorgeous toad was waiting for me. And then two saucer-sized pieces of glass broke and fell about three feet onto the cement floor without making a sound. I don't know how to read the signs. I don't know what to make of these things. Perhaps I harvested a sign that I have been heard...