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

Fall Foraging & Hungry Kitchen Crow

After work one day, earlier in October, I meandered through a local trail to see what I could forage. It was a blustery day with off and on rain and intermittent clear skies. Whenever the seasons begin to make their shift, there's a sort of battle that goes on in the sky. It's an odd micro climate I live in. The temperature, wind and rain can vary quite dramatically from where I live to where my job is located, a mere 7 miles away. The buttes, small valleys, dense forest patches create pockets of strange isolated weather happenings. One of the many reasons I love it out here...



Yarrow leaf.

I gathered up what I stumbled upon. Originally I was looking verbascum thapsus, mullein. I've always been oddly drawn to that plant and I was hoping to find some to begin forging a relationship with it. Mullein loves disturbed rocky soils and despite the fact that I was in prime mullein growing territory, I found none!  I did however find a surprising amount of young yarrow leaf shooting up and the always abundant plantain. Rosehips aplenty too.

I plan to make a healing salve with the plantain and yarrow, once dried.

Along this very same trail, I found a sun bleached crow skeleton. After months of seeing him just sit there, I finally took him home. His skull was perfectly intact as well as some wing bones. As an animist, I believe that his spirit still resides in his bones and over time, we have developed an interesting relationship. One day, I walked into the kitchen to find him exactly like this...

Maw! Maw! Feed me!

Maw! Maw! Feed me!

Silenced with chicken skin and fat. He's my kitchen table companion, often watching as I process herbs, pull cards and taking food scraps as offerings. He's always hungry and a little greedy. He is a surprisingly and both unsurprisingly communicative and active spirit to work with. One of his wing bones resides in my bone throwing set and he's always sure to make his opinions known.

Autumn Sunlight, Simple Pleasures & Brain Knots

I woke lazily and let myself sleep in today, something I do not frequently do. Usually I am up by 5:30, preparing myself for my day. When I get days off, sometimes I don't know what to do with myself. It's kind of a problem. I'm so used to running around, being busy, moving from one task to the next, that when I am faced with the luxury of free time I find my mind racing with possibility, yet physically frozen with what I should do first or what I should do at all. I want to do everything all at once and everything seems so important. So, I started with what I do every morning: coffee, cards, bones and writing.

Morning, slight frustration moving against a current, handle it gracefully. Afternoon, get outside, move and observe, connect with plants. Give something your total focus and study. Evening, tending to spiritual responsibilities. A rewarding burden!

Morning, slight frustration moving against a current, handle it gracefully. Afternoon, get outside, move and observe, connect with plants. Give something your total focus and study. Evening, tending to spiritual responsibilities. A rewarding burden!

After my reading I showered. Steam mingled with the scent of fresh outside air through my bath tub window, coconut, roses and frankincense from my body scrub. That smell, steamy shower and crisp fall air together are perfection. The sun in all its late morning glory busted through the clouds. Faded and golden, it hit me in the face. Bliss. Singular moments like that are magical and transporting. So I stood there for a while. Nothing is quite as trance inducing as seeing the sun shine through your eyelids. It's like a vision of an endless orange-red sea.

My plants and I rejoiced that the sun came out. Together we chased the sun beams through the house like cats do. At 3:30pm, the sun begins quickly fading and the gloaming returns.

I found myself struggling to be ok with not having much to do with my day. I had even planned this. I fantasied of how wonderful and relaxing time off would be, and when I receive it it's almost a shock to the system! It's weird, teaching yourself how to slow down. How to be ok with just sitting and chilling. One of my recently made goals was to give myself more time off from work. It takes space creation and battery recharging to coax out those creative juices and to get them flowing. I battle with the guilt of time off work and the stress it sometimes creates. Learning how to silence that voice always screaming the back of my mind, "you're falling behind! You're falling behind!" I know that I will eventually strike a balance. Meditation truly helps and I need to do more of it.

And that is what I will settle into this evening. Cooking food, books and steadily smoothing out those brain knots.

city sunsets.

city sunsets.