Leaving For the Oregon Coast Trail + What Do I Need?

It's 100 degrees here in Portland this weekend. I sucked in all the cool air last night, shut up all the windows before it crept over 70 degrees this morning and I am sitting in fine comfort, for now. I am cool blooded though, so I enjoy the heat for the most part. Sipping holy basil and mint tea, with a little watermelon on the side. Good refreshing things.

My mind keeps drifting back to this this picture I took almost a year ago, when I was on a camping trip with my herbalism school. It was such a hot and dry summer last year...

Oregon Coast Trail Oswald West - Thru Hiking

It's always cool on the coast, or at the very least there will be that persistent breeze rolling in off the ocean. Filling you up with the sweetness of negative ions, salty skin and tousled hair.

My stomach flips a little in that good way; when I look at my calendar and see July creeping up faster than I thought possible. In less than a month now, I'll be living on the Oregon coast for a month.

My home and all that I'll need to live outdoors will be on my back. I'll be avoiding lingering in towns and spending as much time as I can out on the route that will take me to the California border. From there, I'll have to find my way home. Likely by a mixture of bus and train.

It's going to be super amazing. But I am also kind of preparing myself more for the uncomfortable aspects of what I'm doing. The word for it is called thru-hiking - when you hike one long continuous trail from beginning to end. It's my preliminary step towards finding my style for when I take on the Pacific Crest Trail next year. To know what I am comfortable with, what I need and don't need, what I want and don't want. 

I don't know what to expect. I have never done anything like this in my life. I've never even been on a trip this long before, as I have spent the majority of my adult life... well, adulting. Running a business, tending to the day to day.

It's been both easy and hard for me to set aside time like this, for a big endeavour. It feels kind of like a chink in my mental calendar year - I'm excited and a little irritated by it. Aries don't like to slow their roll and I can't get rolling on some projects I've wanted to pick up. My ingrained scheduling will be disrupted and I feel like I can't begin anything right now. 

It's a preparatory limbo.

What I do know is, my constant companions are going to be the ocean, trees, plants and the moon as she moves the tide back and forth. Controlling my movements of when I can and cannot hike. When I can and cannot pass around a point, or make it to the next headland, to my next camp spot. 

I keep thinking about how I should prepare for the spiritual aspect of this hike and I think about how I am going to do that when I am on the PCT too. I think about physical tools I would need to engage in spirit work, pay homage to the moon in her phases, or to honor a spirit of place. I think I need these physical accoutrements to make contact, to do the work, to engage. Then I realized I don't. I realized...

All the tools we need are in us. 

So I decided to stop stressing about that part. Because either they'll find me, or I'll find them... we'll find each other somehow. I'll figure it out when I get there. I keep telling myself that.


If you're wanting the more detailed and nitty gritty aspects of my hikes and the preparation that I do for them, you can follow me on my other blog, Witch Wandering (which, there are no posts yet, but soon). In that space I will be keeping a daily trail log (updating on trail when able to do so) and posts on what I carry gear wise, eat, prepare, etc. I do hope to squeeze in a from the trail post here too, if possible. We'll see how it goes.

Weekly Oracle: Vulnerability + Resentment + Healing

I'll be doing Weekly Oracles over on my Instagram account every Monday instead of doing them here. I'd like to focus on more quality vs. quantity writing here in this space. Also, in July I will be leaving for a month long hike along the Oregon coast. I'll be spending most of June getting prepared.

You ever feel like your vulnerability can lead you to a path of resentment? Confidently you start off baring your truth, only to recoil at yourself because seemingly, there is no reciprocity or care of this fragile thing you exposed - perhaps not the way you wanted it. Not the way you expected it. Once you've shown or exposed that soft spot, you suddenly feel shameful or too much. Maybe you gave too much. You cared too much. Always kind of echoing in the back of your mind, "why do I care so much, why do I care so much, why do I care so much?" starts forming like god damn bramble shoots, taking over everything. 

Then begins the slow construction of a wall. Laying it in front of yourself, brick by brick. But you build it about chest high, so you can still see the person/people on the other side and talk with them... but they can't completely reach you. You're protected yourself to the point of letting nothing in and nothing out. They can't see much, neither can you. You're able to dip down when you feel like it, to feel secure again and maintain your safe space.

This wall prevents full expression of my self, a compassionate expression. It's coming from a place of fear. Fear of loss and hurt. So when I act in the world, or with people I care about - it is distorted. It's laced with paranoia, anxiety, mistrust.

I roll my eyes into the back of my skull, I. Do. Not. Want. To. Look. At. This.

This is how I have felt the past few days, or several, really.

Annoyingly, I keep getting fours. Rest/withdrawal refusal/indignation. My deck knows me, the cheeky shit. It won't let me hide. Too many times I've pulled the same cards back to back the past few days. For me, this was the recognition and affirmation that I needed to get my head straight.

FOUR OF CUPS

Super fixed tepid water, this card. This outright refusal of an offering, a magic, magic thing just hovering right there. Too focused on the issue at hand to notice a way to solve it. An answer, a helping hand, a helping spirit, a helping cup of tea. Even the tree friend has this closed up persons back, if only they opened up. They seem to be content to sit with their problems.

Four of Cups - resentment vulnerability healing

Finally, it dawned on me...

How can I let go of my resentments and heal from my hurts?

Sometimes, when you're really in the thick of it, you can't see that helping hand, tree friend, person, spirit. All you can see is your sick vision. So, this is what I got:

Wild Unknown - Strength Ace of Pentacles and 9 of Wands

Here we have Strength. In this case, it is the willpower to calm those wild inner emotions with love and compassion and tame them. This doesn't happen through mentally whipping and lashing ourselves, but by caring for that hurt and pain. We're going to suffer in this life regardless, why create more monsters or feed those monsters by being harsh with ourselves? It takes emotional willpower and inner strength to turn and face these aspects of ourselves.  To cut through the fog and find that root cause of our reactions and resentments that we carry with us. 

Despite wounds, being cut or even say if it was a healthy trimming away and letting go, there's an abundance of growth to come from it. Healing is occurring with recognition of our hurts and resentments. If we can summon up that inner resolve to face them, heal and evolve from them, our inner core can shine brightly. We don't have to hide behind the wall we create any more. Safely, we can move about in the world in our true, raw brightest forms. The center of this cut tree is the heartwood, the very core of something living and sturdy. It shines on brightly, reaching through all layers of our life. An opening from the inside out.

Even with that burst of the Ace, it ain't an easy road doing this kind of healing work. Some days, it can seem like this is an uphill battle. Tripping and stumbling up the stairs. It's good to remember to be gentle to ourselves, especially if you're the type to suck it up, put on the blinders and plough on despite your hurting, lashing yourself along the way. There's a strength here though that goes back to the first card, as these aren't just nimble wands but great big sturdy logs. One foot in front of the other each day, slowly and steady. With perseverance, we can uncover what hides within us.

Much love to you all, as we tread our own crooked, twisting winding and brilliantly beautiful paths. 

Weekly Oracle + Guided by The Star & Away from Illusions

Over this weekend I was sitting at my table and my Wild Unknown deck (which I never use and bought for collector reasons) kept jumping out at me from the periphery. I have feelings about this deck which I hope to sum up in a later blog post. For this month and next month I am challenging myself to use it and see how we get along. You'll be seeing more of it here and in my instagram feed.

So, I don't know about any of you... but that full moon kinda sucked. It was rough, hard and heavy. I know I wasn't the only one in this camp of moon feels. It threw up a lot of insecurities into my face and I was, for a few days, sitting in a pit of despair and angst. I suppose when the light shines it reveals not the most pretty of things, but what we need seeing - even it it's not what we want to see and feel.

I think at the heart of this spread is the 7 of Cups. Emotional illusions based on some kind of conflict - inner or outer, that's where we're resting our cup. It can be hard to discern which is right, which is wrong because this overwhelming thing is at the very center of our attention.

Swirling all around is your hopes, dreams and desires though. Even though it can be hard to see past that cup, shifting focus back to your guiding star can help you break through the negative illusions that are not serving you. I mean, what are they really doing for you right now? Ask yourself.

What do we do when we gaze at the stars? We stop, we breathe we become absorbed by a celestial light. It can be opening and clearing for us. Even though the stars lie in the heavens they can bring us back to earth and instil a sense of calm and peace. It can help right us back on our course and set us forth in the right direction...

Through The Star, we can arrive at the Two of Cups. The manifestation of love in a multitude of forms and a connection to self isn't far away. We've just got to remember to look to the Star, remember, get back on course and not be caught up and derailed by those emotional illusions we can all create for ourselves.