Earned, Not Given Freely + 5 of Blooms

I've been doing another tarot challenge over on Instagram, #tarotselflove. I chose the Wooden Tarot for this one, because I wanted to get comfy working with this deck. For so long it has sat on my wichin' table collecting plant and dust matter. While occasionally I would work with the major cards, I did not work with it in its whole form.

I have an interview I have done with it coming up soon, that I want to post here. Perhaps more too, because this deck is... different. It's a challenger and will shake up your tarot world once you start reading with it.

While I've been throwing daily draws over in my Daily Oracle section, I wanted to highlight this card here. It was a tough one. It not only gave me a powerful answer, but I learned a lesson in it too.

Ok, so you're sitting with your cards and you ask a question.

Shuffle shuffle.

You draw a card.

It makes no sense.

None.

No connection. It's not even relevant to your question...

STOP.

Now, dig. Dig deep down. There is an answer, there always is. If we aren't challenged, how will we ever grow?

This was the card I pulled for todays prompt: What should I be more grateful for?

When I looked at this, I almost reshuffled. What is even here to be grateful for? This is desolation, destruction. If you have ever stood in a clear cut, something is clearly missing. Those of us deeply connected to the land and its unseen and seen inhabitants knows this feeling of loss, anger, abuse, greed.

What is to be grateful here? I asked.

I dug, I searched.

It's about finding a way out of an ugly place, or transforming it.

You have to find your way out of it, or learn how to spur new growth. 5 of Blooms says, be grateful because the means with which to navigate those lands and make good on it requires finding your own tools. Be grateful for the experience of earning those abilities and tools, because they are not just given freely.

These tools are earned and learned through the experience of pain, loss and suffering. With them, we can move forward and face future challenges better equipped to handle what they may throw at us, with grace, understanding and compassion.

When you’re overwhelmed by despair, all you can see is suffering everywhere you look. You feel as if the worst thing is happening to you. But we must remember that suffering is a kind of mud that we need in order to generate joy and happiness. Without suffering, there is no happiness.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

This is why I love tarot. It really gives us the opportunity to learn and face aspects of ourselves that are not always in plain sight.

New Moon in Aquarius + Personal Cleansing

I keep turning over cards with the moon in it. The Moon, moons, crescent moons, frowning moons, moons being eaten...

The Moon.

What is a witch even, without the moon? The truth is, the moon is cold to me and I have had a difficult time connecting with her over the years. There was the eclipse in Aries back in '15, when she was painted red and my world was, well, eclipsing. I woke at the odd hour of the night to watch her shift from pure white, to rust colored menstrual red. Some kind of ancestral memory would surface while I watched. Fear! Doom! The end is nigh! But no, it was just me, shivering on my back stoop, wrapped in a shawl hoping I wouldn't be harassed by night passing meth users.

The sun I find joy in, warmth, life, things grow, I am not cold. This I understand and in that I feel safe. But we don't always learn new things by staying in safe comfort zones.

Not so safe!

Not so safe!

That moon though... she's all complicated and I feel so indifferent to her. Aloof.

I feel a bit like the Fool, wandering into the scene of The Moon while I type this. It's is unknown, a bit wild and fearful. Subterranean creatures surfacing from our sub-conscious. However, there is a pathway through this card...

upload.jpeg

And so it is, when something wants your attention, it makes itself known. Again and again and again... So, do the smart thing: pay attention, respond.

While I do track and follow the lunar month for magical purposes, I haven't dug deeper. I aim to change that. I don't know how specifically, but I think that through acknowledgement of this synchronistic pattern I am seeing, taking steps to be more observant, followed by research and taking some baby steps some sort of path will reveal itself. Probably by moon light ;)

We are currently approaching the new moon in Aquarius and new moons are excellent times to begin new practices and habits, start projects, sow seeds, clean out junk from the old cycle, bring in the new and such like. So here we are. She comes aknockin' and would you look at the timing...

One of my favorite ways of cleaning the slate is with a bath. A magical spiritual bath.

As I have been taught and learned this ought to be one of the cornerstones of regular practice. Sometimes this gets overlooked, or forgotten or you know, one becomes lazy. But the miasma builds up and then enough is enough already! Take the damn bath.

For Saturday, Sunday and Monday I will be rising before dawn to bathe. Three days to suit my personal needs. However ideally this is just done once a week as part of regular routine maintenance. Sunday being my favorite day to do this kind of work.

So what are we cleaning here exactly? Build up negative kinds of energy (miasma). This can come from anywhere. The bus, the train, workplace, your own mind, during a magical working, etc. As we go about our daily lives, we both put things on ourselves and negative things can become attached to us. Wash it away!

My personal method comes from within the tradition of conjure or, Hoodoo. I do not do this work in a relaxed, self care kind of fashion. This is work.

Bay, rue, hyssop, rosemary and lavender.

Bay, rue, hyssop, rosemary and lavender.

Rising before dawn I mix together rue, hyssop, lavender, rosemary and bay brewing this into a tea. Any purification herbs can be used to your liking. Along with that, I use a salt blend with rue and hyssop combined with Candlesmoke Chapels Personal Cleansing Oil, which I can't recommend enough. It leaves you feeling wonderfully lifted, light and clean. Over all of this I pray my intentions and needs.

  • Rue, cleanses away evil and protects
  • Hyssop, to cleanse you as white as snow
  • Lavender to cleanse and soothe
  • Rosemary to cleanse and is also a strengthener and protector of women
  • Bay, for clarity and wisdom
  • Salt, all purpose cleansing and protection. It kinda does what you want it to.

After I've brewed this up. I place it into a large bowl and take it into the bath tub that I have filled about ankle height full with warm water. Get naked, step in and in a downward motion I pour the cleansing water over myself and run my hands down my body while washing. The downward motion indicating I am removing it from myself. I do this over and over again with the warm bath water while stating my purpose, "may I be rid of negativity, may all stagnation be washed away, etc."

When I feel a shift in energy I am done. I collect a little of this used bath water into a cup and set it aside, then drain the tub like normal.

After this, I air dry my body. I do not wipe away the work I have done with a dry towel. Air drying can suck, especially in winter but this is how I was taught and this is how I feel it is most effective. It helps to have a space heater for sure. I also like to swing my arms and legs, which gets blood flow going and the whole process is quite refreshing. Hot coffee at the ready is also beneficial.

Once I am done with that I dress myself in oils to bless. In this case I used my own blessing oil combined with a psychic visions and clarity oil. I apply this to my body starting at my feet and working upwards. The upward motion indicating you are drawing these things to yourself. The idea here is that you just washed away something and you need to replace that cleared space with a blessing, or something you want drawn to you.

After getting dressed it's time for the final act. I take the cup of water to a nearby crossroads and toss the used bath water over my left shoulder towards the rising sun. I walk home and do not look back.

I have been doing this practice for many years and I personally find it very effective. Maybe you will too!

Here's to clean slates, blessings, new pathways and fresh lunar starts!

Missing Plant Friends + Hike Lust + Books

Everything outside feels dead. I know it isn't.

I reach towards my herb pantry often, just to grab jars of my wild picked plants and smell them. I can smell the sun on the yarrow and the old clear cut I gathered them in, and the hillside and the side of a sun bleached rocky cliff, all stuffed into this glass jar. How do you keep these places, yarrow? I get hopeful and wistful for their return. Little plants of courage and tenacity. I dream of speaking with and touching coastal yarrow, the kind that Ryan Drum speaks of

One particularly fine day whilst harvesting Yarrow on a steep talus slope above the sea, I felt suddenly quite giddy. The feeling resembled benign sunstroke; however, I had been harvesting in complete cliff shade for 3 hours. Involuntarily I sat down and happily laid back into several ancient Yarrow clumps with 3-foot stalks and huge flat umbels 8-10 inches across. Their delicious odors smothered me. As I looked up and all around, all I could see was Yarrow and blue sky. Paradise.
— Ryan Drum, ryandrum.com

The roses smell like a sexy fruit jam, the ecstatic sound of bees rolling in pollen and the thick wet grass I had to walk to to get to them. The minor bloodshed to capture their petals. My still curious thoughts about the smelly resin the leaves leave on my hands – and how I want to make a salve of it. I can't wait to see her in bloom again.

Plants hold memories, my olfactory senses hold memories. Every time I smell something I gathered, folds in my brain open bringing up knowledge, memory, idea. Parts of my brain that go dormant this time of year I feel come back alive. It reminds me that it will be warm again, that the lush green will be back. That I will be able to move about in the world again in shorts and a thin shirt and that my skin will brown and I'll be back in my season. That I will learn more about my plant friends this season. That I will get to see them again.

I have moved my jars from my pantry to my kitchen table now. Until then when spring is back, I will keep huffing my jars.

Winter is just a little rough on me, I'm a solar powered spring kid.

It comes early here though and very soon, maybe in a couple of weeks even – maybe now even! Poplar buds will begin to fall, young nettles shooting up, cleavers doing their cleaving. My brain is sorting and prioritizing my picking places. What I will do with them? What new things I will learn about them this year?

I CAN'T WAIT.

How plans are made. This is not my usual M.O.

How plans are made. This is not my usual M.O.

Right now, I am mapping potential areas to be with plant friends and for hikes... and for backpacking. This being my first full spring/summer season with a car, I am like a horse chomping at the bit. Ready to go! We shall see where, eventually.

For now, this book is great inspiration and updated frequently which is very handy.

upload.jpeg

I'm rather keen on getting the Eastern Oregon book too. Right now I am totally mystified by the desert. I eye the maps of the ODT longingly but seeped in intimidation. Looks beautiful, doesn't it?

In this guide you can find the OCT route.

In this guide you can find the OCT route.

I am thinking about a thru-hike of the Oregon Coast Trail over the summer, if I can swing it. 380ish miles. It looks to be a relatively easy and accessible entry point into long distance hiking. While the PCT is just over on Mt. Hood, I do not really want to walk it in large sections. I feel like it would somehow be like a movie spoiler to section hike the PCT with my looming 2017 thruhike.

At any rate, it seems this post is divulging into hike talk. This is what I have been reading as of late. And by reading, I mean that I have a circulating pile of books that sometimes I get around to finishing. These are the few that are frequenting my hands lately. And I just might finish them! I've been a focused and diligent reader lately.

A photo posted by Carrot Quinn (@carrotquinn) on

I'm actually rereading this one right now, before I fall asleep at night. 1. The cover is a play on the Fool Card, which is totally awesome. I am wondering... someone might wanna make a hikers tarot deck. I mean, could be good right? Yes, it would. Tarot all the things. 2. It's just really good. I can feel her feels.

The author, Carrot Quinn has a blog too! She completed the Continental Divide Trail last year and is preparing for the Hayduke, which I can't wait to read about.

upload.jpeg

My friend Ashley mentioned his books on IG and I checked them out and bought this one. It's good stuff. I find myself breathing better and smiling at myself randomly. Which, does in fact promote a better mood and brain space. When I smile at myself, while I am driving, walking somewhere, working, washing dishes, cleaning the cat box I suddenly feel like I am standing in a sun beam and in a place I love, like a mountain, yet still present to my place and what I am doing in that moment – and I am happy.

upload.jpeg

I feel like this book pairs really well with the writing of Thich Nhat Hanh, I bounce between the two over coffee in the morning as time allows. I recommend it if nature, writing and self-development are things you like. I've really been enjoying it so far.

And if you are reading neat things, do share. I love adding to my increasing book pile ;)

A Declaration: PCT 2017

I heard about it most officially from a wildland firefighter I had been dating, back in October of '14. He said, "...and I was working on the Pacific Crest Trail," in a kind of mystical tone. A small ding went off in my brain. I had this strange vision that it was near the coast for some reason, I suppose I was confusing the word "crest".

A few months went by and while looking over a map of Indian Heaven Wilderness, I saw this bold endless looking red scar across it: Pacific Crest Trail 2000. Ding.

My friend Lacey was planning a visit back in April, she wanted to do some nature exploring, but didn't have a clue what she wanted to go do or see out here. So, I ran a few ideas in my head... and thought of that movie everyone was talking about a while back. The one with the shoe on the cover, part of it was filmed here in Portland, had that girlwhatshername from Legally Blond play the character. I suggested to Lacey to watch it to get an idea of what we have out here, as some of it was filmed in Oregon and showed some scenic views of our state. I had to google what the name of it was... and then I realized, oh. It's about a woman who hikes the PCT. What is this trail anyway? Commence googling.

The memory of brain dings and feelings surfaced. So this is what it is: 2660 miles from Mexico to Canada, along the chain of mountains through California, Oregon and Washington. Pilgrims from all over the US and world come to hike it in sections and even in its entirety. Most northbound, some south bound on a journey that takes on average, about 5 months to complete. I discovered the trail blogs of people accounting each day of their struggle for water, intense hunger, storms, chewed up feet, giving up, mountain lions, hypothermia, heat stroke... a whole strange subculture of these people called thru-hikers. I wanted that life.

I decided, that I was going to become a thru-hiker. I was going to do it. This made me happy in that same way, when I was just 12 years old with a plan to run away to to smoky mountains. There was that embracing of my child-self that I do my very best not to loose. We loose it so easily in these times.

That was early '15, when I had decided. Desire waxed, waned, eclipsed. Am I ready to give up my (relatively speaking) affordable Portland rent, in my pretty damn nice apartment that I magic-ed my ass into? What about my business? What about Tucker? Do I really want to displace myself like this? Become homeless for 6-8 months? What about afterwards? What about the threat of depression that will inevitably set in after I am done? Is it worth stirring up my life for this desire?

Always I came back to: Yes.

The stars, the dirt, the trees, the crossroads. The hunger that will chew at me. The relentless sun burning me. The feeling I know I'll get walking into familiar territory, seeing old plant friends and mountains. Knowing there won't be some great epiphany at the end. Knowing I'll hate it at times. Knowing I will love it. Knowing I will be scared shitless and knowing I will be humbled by vastness and beauty, the kind that there are no words for.

So, now it's 2016. Instead of saying, “PCT in 2017...” I get to say, “PCT, next year.”

Next year.

It is now even more of a reality. Now I can buy data books that will be slightly more relevant to nerd over. Now I can start gear testing and collecting. I have to start saving money and reorienting my business and job to work well without me for part of spring and summer.

Have I ever backpacked before? Nope.

Is this crazy? Maybe. Lots of people do it with no prior experience. Thankfully an ADD mind provides you with a what seems like a contradictory ability: hyper focus (usually only on things we are fascinated by). So I have been adsorbing like a sponge, everything. Stove vs. no stove, tarp vs. tent, resupply strategy, food choices, shoes, foot care, hiking gait, sleeping bag, socks, treking poles, ultralight everything. All the things. Reading all the stories. All the books. All the info.

I know that no matter how much I meticulously prepare, I will not be fully prepared for it.

So, that's that. My deceleration of doing.

PCT 2017.

A Winter Check In – New Year, New Things

That strange year of 2015 is now fully behind me. A lot of destruction happened in order for new growth to occur. It was my year of the Death card and my Saturn return, which was in the sign of Scorpio, the sign that rules the Death card interestingly enough. '15 was rough and I was rough on myself, there's not much else to elaborate on. The end of that year was however, awesome. I got a lot of things in my life straightened out, mainly my health, finances and relationships. I am glad that I finally saw that rising dawn...

Before the new year came, I rid myself of all connection to past unhealthy relationships. Mainly this took the form of physical magical workings I had scattered through my house. I disposed of them in strategic spots, far from home. I refused to carry any of that business into the new year. Clean home, clean mind!

This year, my card is Temperance, which follows Death. It too has a rising sun on it's horizon and a path leading deep into the mountains. A foot in two worlds, while processing and amalgamating. There is a serenity and calm here I just love. Graceful movements. Lush growing things. Tempering myself and my actions so that I may find balance and wholeness in my life.

upload.jpeg
If you’re curious about your own year card add together these numbers: your month of birth + day of birth + current year = number, then you break that number down into smaller bits and add those together. Example for myself: 4 + 19 + 2016 = 2039 ... 2 + 3 + 9 = 14. Temperance.

Looking back on my Samhain reading, I can see the passage of Winter happening. I struggled, mentally … but I had that little lantern lit and I kept on going. I am not a winter person, I find it depressing and frustrating a lot of the time, but I know it's a necessary seasonal process. I've been enjoying hunkering down and getting very hermit mode. Like the little Kingfisher, I have been fairly focused on some very specific things. I've done some weeding and am currently still weeding out unnecessaries – this is helping my focus and aims. The Mirror is all mystery, reflection and illumination of the darker aspects of ones soul. A surrendering to that knowledge, a healing of wounds though guidance from the otherworld. Dreams are vivid these days, so I pay attention. My inner voice is being found on a multitude of levels, I am hearing her.

I feel like this year is taking the actions that will manifest dreams and desires into reality.

These desires require funds. So, I have done a few things this month.

  1. Canceled my home internet.

  2. Lowered my grocery bill.

  3. Canceled other luxury monthly expenditures

  4. Selling off a good hunk of my unused and unnecessary possessions.

For some, not having home internet might already be a thing and not a big deal. But for me it is. I have always had an internet connection from the comfort of my home since I was on my own at 18. I also run an online business as my primary means of income, so this was a difficult thing. Thankfully I have a separate work space, so yes, there's internet there for me to access obviously.

You know what though? It's awesome not having it at home. There is a brightness I feel like waiting for me there now, not a black hole. It means I can actually read the books I have instead of being distracted by the internet. I mean, how often do we discontentedly sit scrolling through our facebook feed feeling frustrated and pissed with the world? Yes, I could probably summon the willpower to have home internet and not waste time like that... but, that feels almost impossible! It's pulling and calling... usseee meee.

I'm not faced with a barrage of adds telling me how to look, what to buy. Or opinions of how I should live and what I should eat. That I need to buy this thing to feel complete. When I look at the internet too much, my mind is even more of a mess, my dreams become junk, I'm scattered and longing for... who knows what. Something I can't put my finger on. So, at 6:30am on Monday the 11th, I canceled that shit. Not a singular doubt in my mind.

I come home and I read books, conduct research and work on my own little projects. It's wonderful. Through this disconnect in my dwelling space, I feel like I've been better able to find my own voice through the internal noise that constant and chronic internet use creates.

If I need internet, I can walk to the nearest wifi spot two blocks away. If I really, really need something I have my smartphone.

Beyond that, it's just working on the tiny things to build the bigger things. Slowing down some processes to speed up others. Right now, I just want less, so that I can have more enrichment in my life.

Slowing down some processes to speed up other things in my life. It's a strange thing! But all of this feels like the right move. Hell yes to a year of learning the lessons of Temperance. I thought that this card from the Wooden Tarot pretty much embodied my choices lately. Slowing down, thinking about what home means to me, thinking about what I really, really need, what really matters. This snail dude is going places and growing things. Slowing down to speed up, in a strange manner of speaking. Look at the little dude! All confident and rolling right though it. This one knows where they're going.

This was my little New Years day road opening spell with Temperance as my 2016 card and the Sun as my randomly drawn card for the year as well. What good omens!

That's 2016 for me: taking actions and steps to making dreams become reality.