Hello Equinox & Green Things

Spring came so wildly early this year, alarmingly early. Violets in January? Yes! It's kind of crazy. Wild cherry trees have been blooming, filling the streets with white and pink snow. Catkins dangling phallically from trees. The air a mix of tree sex. What has been lacking is the scent of cool petrichor, mingling with blooming things. There have been a handful of predawn mornings, while lying in bed that I can hear and smell the rain coming down. Those are rather precious times to me. The lack of our generally incessant rains this time of year leaves one wondering, curious and slightly wary. That's how I feel anyway, and I wonder to what extent our summer will be dry and hot this year. The thought of wildfire and smoke creep into my brain...

Despite springs early arrival I have been excited about it, naturally. As the sap rises in the plants and trees and the soil moves a little more, so do I and it generates a great joy inside of me. I feel like a bear coming out from its winter den. I've been chomping at the bit to find, gather, process and make things. Poplar buds, nettles and cleavers have been my allies thus far.

Before I moved back into the city proper I had the luxury of living along a paved trail corridor with patches of relatively undisturbed land. Gathering was easy and simple. I knew where the cottonwood stands were, where the creepy ass alder swamp was, wild strawberries, roses, you name it. Now it's whole 'nother game, especially when you lack personal motorized vehicle transportation. Now it is chance, by surprise and hunting when I find what I am looking for. While I miss the ease of access and familiar places and special spots I am finding treasures, medicine and spirit hidden in the nooks and crannies of the city.

I believe that spirit is just as strong and valid in the city, as it is in the most wild and untouched places. I have seen and read a lot of dismissal of the spirit world in the city and I think that it is unwise. They are different, but equally important in my opinion.

So it's a strange and interesting adventure. Acquainting/reacquainting myself with familiar but unfamiliar territory. Making new spirit and plant friends, discovering lonely, overlooked, neglected green patches, appreciating them and befriending them. Every year I feel like I've waited for this moment my whole life, the Spring Equinox. With the sun moving into my sign Aries, my blood quickens and a strange life lust overcomes me and more than ever I feel the desire to do, do, do!

Only warmer and longer days from here on out. Making the most of it.

Umpqua Hot Springs

Was warned of cougars, arrived in utter darkness, got lost, found way again, found springs, hippies gifted candles, luxuriated in 104 degree geothermal pool while light rain flecked the night sky. Went back the next morning for pictures.

I didn't realize till after this picture was taken that there was a bottle cap on the ground. This is something I've noticed and experienced in Oregon, people don't pick up their fucking trash. Perhaps it's the proximity of being near a city. Pack in, pack out folks.

The water was, unsurprisingly, a bit metallic and sulfuric smelling. It was also quite salty.

So, slime mold. Pretty fascinating stuff. Not a plant or animal, nor a fungus! But an amoeba. Read. I discovered some yerba buena, wild strawberries and never before seen with my own eyes, western yew. I was quite elated to finally meet the tree up close and in person, sadly no picture as the lighting was horrid.

I don't get to do things like this too often, so it was a real treat. I haven't driven or owned a car in over 8 years. Public transit has suited me well over the years, but I'm getting that deep and unrelenting itch to get out of the city by my own means. Tired of being city trapped and I am set to change that. Hopefully with a vehicle of my very own (gasp!) in the next few months. I have all manner of wild crafting and exploring that needs to be done.

Β 

Purging vs. Transmutation

I was told once, my love life is destined to be tumultuous. I can certainly say, it has turned out that way thus far. It isn't something I'm terribly woeful about. It's life and it's experience and I treasure that kind of beauty. Sometimes though, it does leave a bad taste in ones mouth and mind: regrets, anger, resentment and bitterness take hold and can consume and erase the goodness.

As I reached towards something I was given the other day, beginning yet another purging process, I stopped myself.

Why for?

It's a choice, to look at an object that was given in affection and sweetness and allow it to become something poisonous (subjective I know, but applicable for me currently). It is a choice to hang on to the moments of anger, the feelings of betrayal, the feelings of abandonment. It can override everything else and take a powerful root, like invasive brambles of the mind. Choking, biting, twisted. Today I decided, that objects given in affection, joy, sweetness, should be treasured. Even if the outcome with that person becomes sour.

if the medicine is bitter, know this bitterness holds the power of healing and when you are tempted to scapegoat don’t forget that you can always become the goat.
— Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold.

Today I realized, I must forgive. I am the goat and I am learning. Somehow, I hope to figure out that alchemical process necessary to find the healing within bitterness. I know that I will, but it will be a process and take time. So I will seek as seekers do.

I do I forgive you. I forgive the ones that cheated, that stole from me, abused me, manipulated and lied. I forgive myself, for lashing out in anger, for allowing my own bitterness to spread and consume, for holding on to what needs to be let go... all for the sake of pride, of making a point, of justice questing. And I hope, that they can forgive me in turn for my wrong doings.

Even if you must walk away from someone who is no good, or they walk away from you, or you send them packing, treasure what was. Your path crosses with another for a reason, always, I think.

Transmute it.

A Hello to the New Year

I don't really make resolutions around New Years. I like to set goals though, or set about to change something. I do a lot of resetting around the new moon, because that is the start of the lunar calendar. So, I suppose the New Year is a grand resetting of sorts. The ultimate fresh start. As an Aries, I do love a good new beginning... finishing something is where us Aries can fall short however!

I didn't meet a lot of my goals last year due to major life upheaval. This year though, I feel as though I am in the most perfect position to SLAY my goals and aspirations this year. And I will.

So, in no particular order...

1. Improve upon my already well established fitness.

You learn to accept ugly making faces when you lift.

About two years ago, I got a gym membership and discovered my love of iron. Maybe it's all that heady Mars ruled stuff going on in my natal chart, but I love it. I started eating better, lost fat, gained muscle and have never felt better about my body or my booty. I've gone on a few month long hiatuses and I am always brought back to lifting with a vengeance. (And this dear reader, is where you learn my dirty secret) Almost a year ago I... I say this in the faintest of whispers, gave Crossfit a try. You see, there's a Crossfit gym (note that I didn't say "box") just behind my work. I got to chatting with one of the coaches and liked that they had a bias towards strength and placed huge emphasis on form, which is very often lacking in many Crossfit places. What drew me, was Olympic lifting and the challenge of doing things that scared and intimidated me. I learned how to jump rope elegantly, how to jump onto something 20 inches high, how to move 70lbs on a barbell from the ground up to catch it in a squat over my head aka: the snatch. I digress.

Master double unders, 10 strict pushups, 1 strict pullup, 100lb snatch and improve the shit out of my clean form.

2. Do less and simplify.

I over extend myself very often. I want to do everything that catches my interest. I have, generally speaking, each digit in a pie and two irons in the fire for every digit and appendage on my body. Which, leaves me feeling spread thin and the inability to devote myself to a singular task very well. I'm stripping away a lot of things I'd like to do, but won't really serve me in the long run. Quality over quantity, honing my focus and less burn out.

3. Fully commit to my spiritual practice. No excuses.

Bone throwing on cards has been a very rewarding form of divination for me.

This has been a huge struggle for me.  I can't remember where I read this, but someone once summed up modern spiritual practice as this rare luxury we give ourselves. It shouldn't be that way. To be perfectly honest, I have placed regular practice at the bottom of my priority list. Partly out of fear, partly out of laziness. Deciding that sleeping in till 6am is better than getting up at 5am to meditate, pray and honor my spirits. It's called a practice for a reason. The fear? I fear results, I fear what I will meet and see when I go deeper. All the more reason to face it. They say you're not doing it right if you don't feel a twinge of fear crawling up your spine. That's witchcraft folks.

4. Paint and make more magic.

'nuff said. While my job does tend to nurture some creativity I lust after the days when I used to paint endlessly. When I was young it was abstract and chaotic, these days I just want to paint flowers and nature like an old lady. I have crows feet that need to be made into talismans, wild harvesting bags that need sewing, and all manner of roots, stones and bones that need to worked into something magic.

5. Herbalism School and wildcrafting.

Yes! In March I begin classes for a three year program at a local school for Traditional Western Herbalism. I've long had a fascination with plants and I have always sought to understand them both spiritually and medicinally. I live in a most fascinating and rich bioregion and the land here, well, it speaks and it is very much alive... and not even in the mundane sense. I'm really looking forward to entering a community of people who feel the same way and nerd out just as much as I do when we see something interesting growing out of a crack in the sidewalk.

So that's that. I've got my focus, my home base is secure and I am ready for battle.

May we all slay, achieve, grow and prosper in this glorious new year!

A Goodbye to the Year

Arcana Mundi.

Goodbye 2014. You were a harsh and beautiful year. Saturn came around and laid his whip across my back, again and again. Relationships dissolved and evolved, hearts broken, mended, lead astray, exploded, abandoned. Touched wild places. Gained independence. Lost much in order to gain more. Learned to find lessons and blessings in painful ordeal.

I feel like I need some sort of epic closure to this insane year. It won't be epic though, it'll be quiet. Good and quiet. Burn away what does not serve me and with the ashes, fertilize seeds for next year. This has been a year of the mirror and of revealing the nooks and crannies of my soul. I've taken to embracing these bitter aspects and somehow, coaxing them into something constructive and to understand myself better. This isn't to say that I have succeeded on all fronts and that work is done, work is never done! What initially felt like setbacks, were actually events that propelled me forward into what I really want in this life.

2015 will be a power year. I can feel it and I am hungry for it.

Physically I am alive. Morally I am free. The world which I have departed is a menagerie. The dawn is breaking on a new world, a jungle world in which the lean spirits roam with sharp claws. If I am a hyena I am a lean and hungry one: I go forth to fatten myself.
— Henry Miller