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.

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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.

How I Choose Which Tarot Deck I Read With + Decks I Use

I was asked a question on how I choose which tarot deck I use for readings, which I thought was a great question because it isn't something I've really thought about doing, but just do. Short answer is: I go with my gut.

tarot deck collection

Currently I have about 13 different decks to choose from. Of those, I actively use three. Two traditional tarot decks and one oracle deck. I am a bit of a collector and prone to "shiny!" grabby-hands impulse tarot purchases, especially if it is an independently published deck. There are so many people out there creating really cool decks right now.

I have a very deep bond with my Smith-Waite deck. It was the very first deck I have ever owned and we have done some serious shit together. As a result, this is my default deck, the old trusty friend I can always go to and know I'll get a solid unwavering answer from and I know that when I read for others, the same applies.

The second deck I work with I feel is a more nature, pagan and witchy version of Smith-Waite, so the suits translate fairly well between decks. They're similar but not the same. I often go to this deck when I am dealing with more wild, green and witchcraft oriented situations. It's also a great deck for me to understand my dreams, as I dream often of plants, animal and wild places.

Third being the Earthbound Oracle. I really like this as a supplemental deck to draw on for tarot readings. To kind of back up another card or use as an action card, or energies surrounding the situation. A good example is how I used it for my Samhain spread.

Example of Earthbound Oracle supplementing the main reading. Basically it stepped in to tell me to stop being deceived by my own doubting mind, to really  see  what I have and trust my intuition.

Example of Earthbound Oracle supplementing the main reading. Basically it stepped in to tell me to stop being deceived by my own doubting mind, to really see what I have and trust my intuition.

When it comes down the choosing a deck for a reading it usually goes something like this:

*sits at table and stares at decks for a while, while contemplating an issue, question*

*knocks on table three times, has conversation with familiar spirits, gets feels*

*looks at decks again*

*picks deck giving good feels*

Hah. It really is hard to describe. But I feel that each deck contains its own spirit and depending on what I am needing to read about, or on, it will reach out to me. And they do, every single time.

So if you're all starry eyed and deck lusting as one does when one loves tarot, I would pick one deck that sits close to your heart. Study and work with it daily, then pick another deck that you're very attracted to to act as an alternative and go from there.

Another useful trick is the good ol' pendulum! I employ this when I am reading for clients. Actually, especially when I am reading for clients. I set both my RWS and Wildwood decks side by side and while holding the pendulum, I state, "who wants to read for Brunhilda Birchswitch?" (I made that name up, I don't know where it came from). And 100% of the time the pendulum swings one way or another and the deck is chosen. If you wanted to apply this to a personal reading just ask, "who wants to read for me?"

Another angle to approach this is knowing your deck. Decks have personalities of their own and I can tell you that I have experienced some decks getting snarky because I haven't used them in a while. Yes, I am looking at you RWS. Conduct yourself an interview! Ask your deck what areas of life it specializes in, what situations it works best in, how you can best read with it. That can help you in knowing when to choose the right deck for the right situation. Or just giving you a better feel for the appropriate time to use it.

Above all though, don't think too critically about it. Go with your gut feeling. If it feels right, it more than likely is! Trust the process.

A Samhain Tarot Spread + The Year Ahead

Yesterday I finished up that Instagram tarot challenge and for the last day I did a Samhain tarot spread for the year ahead. I wanted to discuss and share it with those who might be interested in my method if they'd like to give it a try sometime. This spread isn't limited to any time of year I think, but it is geared towards seasons and the traditional wheel of the year. So, one could do this spread at the start or end of any season.

Samhain is also known as the Celtic New Year. Running with this in mind and the idea that we sort of descend into the underworld/underground for winter during this time, I wanted to map out the year ahead as this is the perfect time to do so.

For some reason, I already knew what the spread was going to look like in my head. It just sort of happened so I ran with it.

Three cards for each season: winter, spring, summer and fall. I chose Wildwood because of its connections to the wheel of the year, the cards and suits are all based upon elements and seasons. Being a very plant and nature oriented person, I gravitated towards this deck for that reason too. Earthbound Oracle (which I want to review soon!) came in to give the overall theme for each season, the main vibe.

Now, I read rather intuitively. I don't very often give each card placement a specific meaning. I find that with my brain and reading style, I just let the cards do their thing and then the story seems to weave together all on its own.

When I shuffle cards, I speak aloud my questions...

What is in store for me in the year ahead?

For each season, what should I focus on?

What should I be aware of?

What will I learn?

And of course, a card flew out as I shuffled. Or flipped, rather. When this happens, many readers take it as a sign to pay attention and run with it - I do this too, so I set the card down in the middle to represent myself and my "aims" for this coming year. Too funny it would be The Archer... a card that has been showing up for me frequently. The season associated with this card is the Spring Equinox, my season as I am Aries.

wildwood tarot the archer

Card 7 The Archer, is akin to the Chariot in Rider-Waite systems. Here we see the practice of form and focus, before the arrow is set loose. This is the breath before the great strike. This is the culmination of practice, gathering of information and thoughts put into action. The Archer is backed by spirit companions, they are supporter of their cause, guides. The Archer has their eyes on a goal and they aim for it unfailingly. This is the energy I will carry with me into the following year. I do love how there is a cowrie shell dangling right above the sex of this individual.

Winter

I'm none too surprised here. There will be some struggling this winter, perhaps more of a mental struggle. It's odd, because as I am typing this I am feeling it. Highly introverted and a strange self-inflicted loneliness that in all truth, isn't really actually loneliness, but it feels that way. It's all in my head. The isolation, the cold, the depressing aspects of winter - it gets to me. It's pouring rain outside right now and while cozy, it has my moods dark and swirling. There's something reminiscent of the Hermit in this card too, the lamp a guiding internal flame and source of direction even in cold bleak times. Move forward...

The Kingfisher, it almost seems like he's smiling. He, like the Archer, knows his aim is focused. He does not cling to what doesn't serve him. He overcomes obstacles by sheer force of will and intelligence.

Oh the Mirror! This is a very wintry watery card of spiritual journeying, of surrender, of digging deep into oneself. This is not forced inner reflection, but one of acceptance, of knowing its coming. This is about messages and insights gained in dream and meditation.

The overarching theme for this season, is finding my spiritual voice, weaving song with it.

Spring

With the ruminating of winter behind me, it will be time to clear away the old and make way for the new. Clearance is about making that room, so that I can expand upon new ways and methods of doing things and allow growth to happen in those areas. A spring cleaning will definitely be scheduled.

Ohhh, some heart stings perhaps? Stinging the heart of another? Dealing with some relationships issues? This card, akin to the classic Three of Swords is called Jealousy. Feelings of resentment, emotions out of control ought to be checked and it will be good to be mindful of them during this period.

Mm, Ecstasy. I know what this means and it means the return of my feet back into the lush greenery of the forests here. If there is any time I feel most alive and stirred it is in my time, late April early May when everything is bursting with life and growing. This isn't about pleasures though, it is about ecstatic trance, a time of spiritual revelation and experience, which I know to be found readily during my "power" time of the year.

The theme of this season, is trusting my inner visions and being guided by them.

Summer

The path continues through the green mantle... a Reunion. A returning to place, while not maybe physical - it is spiritual. What also comes up is recognition that I spend a lot of time working on myself and in things in a solitary way... this could be a coming together with my people, my tribe, my kinfolk. The land is what brings us together. I should keep this in mind.

The Ancestor, the great call from within that is tied to my blood and my bones. This serves as a reminder to stay on the path, to stay the course of my spiritual journey and the call of spirit. Sometimes we really do need a reminder, because we get a little lost, we make pit stops, we take side trails... but always there is the path I know I must walk. It might change its shape and texture over the years, the landscape may shift, but it is always there and to stay upon it means everything to me. This also may be the start of a new spiritual cycle and beginning for me.

And speaking of path walking, there's the crossroads. This will likely be a transformative and fulfilling summer. This is about follow through and commitment to my goals, walking my talk and my path - in doing this I will find Fulfillment.

With the Ancestor in mind and the idea of new cycles and beginnings, it's almost no surprise to see this being the overall theme for summer time. Death is transformative and skin shedding is vital. This will be a very interesting time I think.

Fall

There will be some misses I think coming into this season. But that Archer, again! There will be a need for focus and determination. My job becomes increasingly stressful during this time of year and very often (as I found myself doing this year) I pile up too much on my plate and dilute my focus. I'm scattered and uncollected. I must be mindful of this.

Here is the first stones and earth based card to show up. This is something to note, there's a lot of air, water and fire happening, but not a lot of grounding earth. 10 of Stones, Home. This card is flanked by frustration and challenge, so the emphasis here I think is sanctuary creating. One thing I have always been curious about myself (astrologically speaking) is how very significant my home is to me and creating sanctuary space. A place to retreat from external pressures, stress, the elements. It is where love resides, I think. Building something. Growth is happening in this card, an apple tree reaches up and out of the roof. Sustenance, sanctuary and support are themes here and will be important during this time.

One cannot grow without challenge. The thing about challenges is to not become petty, or to act out of insecurity when enduring them and instead, to act of integrity and sincerity for best results.

Labor will bring in the sweetness and rewards. While working through frustrations and challenges can suck, one can definitely work them to ones advantage. This also touches on home and home base being a place to recharge and gain sustenance.

samhain tarot spread wildwood

This is a big ol' spread! The biggest I have ever done actually. What I think I will be doing with this, is returning to it at each season and checking in. So, I think there will be subsequent posts about how all of this plays out into the coming year.

If you ever decide to use this spread, do share it! I would love to see others take on this, or how it might play out for them as well.

Many blessings to those making their wintry decent!

31 Day Tarot Challenge + Compilation + Card Nerding

It probably doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize I use the crap outta Instagram. When I got my very first smartphone, it was the first app I gravitated to and continue to use religiously. It's a little window world and you get to share with other folks, connect, make friends too! Of all the social media platform, this I feel is the most enriching and interactive in a positive way. I've made some great friends via Instagram. But little did I know it would actually have an impact on my daily reading practice...

I decided to participate in my first ever Instagram "daily challenge" put on by Claire Elizabeth of Black and the Moon (whose shop is amazing by the way). And holy crap did it ever touch on some cool shit! It was literally a tarot journey I unknowingly embarked upon for the entire month of October. It also got me wanting to be creative with sacred items I have in and around my reading space... I still haven't come up with a name for it yet, "divining table" or, also known as: the kitchen table that ain't a kitchen table (I suppose if you wanted to get down to it, I am indeed a kitchen witch).

It was fascinating to see patterns popping up in cards, responses to previous days pulls. Some of my decks got cheeky, especially Wildwood. It reinforced the belief that decks are like people, they have personalities too and I feel I always get a better read or interaction with my decks when I treat them as such. They contain a spirit to, you know!

It's really great to have these little daily prompts on top of just pulling cards for yourself, or doing readings for others. It gives you a chance to really explore a deck, or multiple decks. I think the next time I do something like this, I'll focus on one deck, to really dig into it and feel it out.

If you haven't done something like this before, do! I know I hesitated at first because I didn't know how it'd interfere with the vibe of my feed, or even just my daily card slinging practice. I was able to talk with other readers, discover new decks (oh the bane of my wallets poor existence) and check out others feels and perspectives on card meanings which is always refreshing. It was also cool to sync up card wise with other readers.

Anyway, go peep at Black and the Moons shop! I believe her Antique Anatomy Deck is currently sold out. Hopefully a reprint or restocking soon? And if her following prints don't tempt you, I don't know what will...

If you know of any good challenges coming up soon, do share! I think I will be rolling into the Modern Mystic challenge next.

Slow + Rushing

Wind was kicking up all sorts of leaves around my house this morning while I was laying in bed, in a weird way it felt like fall had finally kicked in this weekend. This October has reminded me quite a bit of last October, but only in weather... not my then circumstances.

I have been busy, busy, busy. It's like a slow rushing right now, I feel everything so acutely and I'm paying attention. Like each step being oddly and carefully considered before the next, but quickly. I drastically cut back on drinking and I quit smoking pot (which is legal here, by the way). I'm about three months in now I think, I can't remember exactly when it was I stopped. Being sober has been trippy in and of itself, but it's fantastic really. I dream deeply, much more vividly and the depressive side effects of alcohol are gone. Sadly, weed is a spiritual blocker for me. It closes up parts of myself that are very necessary for me to reach on a daily basis. I am relearning how to be comfortable with this level of sensitivity. It's wonderful, being very here and now. Being able to move outside of myself. Become an observer. It isn't easy and I watch myself do shit that makes me shake my head, or causes me to reassess other methods of doing things. It's all weird. Feeling feelings is weird. Being human is weird. Everyday is some strange experiment it feels like. An exciting, strange, titillating... experiment.

I really kind of wanted to focus on slowing things this fall and winter, and I think I am getting there. One lesson I have been trying to wrap my stubborn head around is: it's OK to give up on shit. It's OK to put something away, throw it away, wash it away, take it away and watch it drift far far down a river you set it in, never to be seen again. Giving up ain't bad. It's relieving sometimes to be honest, sometimes sad. But in my case these recent weeks, it's been good, great even. It's space creating for something else to expand or for something else to move in. I've been in favor of expanding upon things, digging deeper and not taking on things that perpetuate the burn out cycles I find myself in.

I've been drinking a lot of roots in tea and taking them as medicine. It's the rooty season. Right now, ashwagandha has been my slowing down, adapting to external pressures and stress plant. Which I think I will expand upon in another post...

I think, that is what this fall and winter will be about, because... I just pulled a card about it. Hah! Two of Cups. Amalgamation. Moving together parts that are separate into a whole and piecing together discombobulated bits. A uniting of polarities to create a whole.

Old man Hermit has been creeping around the periphery too, like always. The contemplation before the amalgamation. I think my extroverted summer tapped me out and now my bear-ness has arrived and I am ready to den these short days away. Undergo some processing... and meet spirit guides halfway, because 'tis the season! The veil is thinning and oh how spirit is on the loud speaker. Do you feel it?

So many signs pointing to dig into the earth, these days, or be swallowed by it. Like the Shaman, who makes their way into the otherworld by the roots of tree or being eaten by the earth.

Tilly Jane + Old Man Wy'east

The first week I had my car I left one of the doors open while it was parked off street by my apartment, like a dingus. Not a good thing as I live at a sort of sketchy intersection. My neighbor said, "hey! You left your car door open!" and I said, "oh shit, thank you! I'm still getting used to this car owner thing." You know, getting used to basic things like shutting the door and locking it when you're done with it. Anyway... I haven't done that again!

I am also very indecisive when it comes to any sort of adventure plans, now that I am basically able to get to any and everything. There's just too much to see out here! So I made a firm decision for Cooper Spur last weekend.

I have mixed feelings about adventuring around Mt. Hood. Firstly (and I am not alone in this), Hood puts off the feels. Like he's angry and shit. I would be too if people were trampling around on my slopes leaving all sorts of trash, lighting fires and being generally disrespectful. It's a high traffic area and I prefer less traffic. Being the animist that I am, I do my best to tread lightly and respectfully. I also bring treats, which usually wins some kind of favor. Just make sure it's the right treat!

When I reached the road to get to the trail head I saw another trail, the Tilly Jane ski trail. Not wanting to drive the 10 miles of switchbacks to reach the Cloud Cap campground, I took this instead as it eventually links up with the Timberline and then Cooper Spur. Overly ambitious, but whatevs. It totaled at I believe, 12 miles there and back with an elevation gain of something like 3000 feet. I stopped at the iconic stone hut, where there's the junction between Cooper and Timberline. There was a shit ton of people there and it was sometime after 4pm so, not wanting to hike in the dark I was quick like a bunny and went back. So in actuality I never did Cooper Spur, but this was nice.

This trail takes you through an old burn, back from 2008 I believe. The contrast of the silvery dead trees and plants moving into their fall colors were stunning to say the least. It always makes me want to paint.

Mountain yarrow! Some of the best yarrow grows along coasts, at higher elevation or rough wild terrain. Cultivated yarrow is considered inferior by some herbalists. When these little plants are exposed to harsh environments, like growing out of a rock on the side of a mountain, they're stronger for it and have much more potent medicine. You can actually smell the difference. Compare yarrow growing in a garden to yarrow on a windy, rocky slope and you'll smell it.

Little plant lessons: exposure to extremes can lead to strength, tenacity and potency.

Spring Gathering: Poplar Buds & Nettle

It feels a bit late to be talking about these two, but my fingers are still deep in their goodness and it feels like I was washing the sticky poplar resin form my hands just yesterday...

The season started slow with poplar buds and nettles. Both have a powerful olfactory effect on me. Poplar bud oil was once worn by an old flame of mine. So upon first whiff I am instantly reminded of him. It's changing though and I am more drawn to the thoughts of the rivers and wet places the cottonwoods grow... and where they grow, nettle never seems far away. You can smell them when the air is balmy and they'll fill your bag with a ripe skunk when you've harvested them up. I've always been rather fond of a good stink, and I sometimes find myself sticking my nose very carefully into the bag I've put them in. Green, fatty, skunky and with a hint of citrus. Yes! To my nose there exists a citrusy note in older nettle leaves.

The nettle has gone into tea for the most part. It creates a vegetal broth of sorts. When you sip it, it immediately touches some place internally that sends off all sorts of signals telling you this is nourishment. Nettle is highly nutritive, full of minerals and a lovely spring tonic. I've also been adding it to my weekly batch of chicken soup. I tried it fresh, but I prefer to add it in once it has been dried. I find it more palatable.

Magically, nettle is a jinx breaker. One that would be powerful I think. Jinx breaking with a bit of a sting to it!

I made oil from the poplar buds and left a good portion of them to dry out for incense and magical needs. Often times I think of plants for their folk magic uses first, rather than for medicine. I find they go hand in hand. Poplar is used to mend broken hearts, or foster reconciliation between two lovers or friends, to soothe strife. You'll find that magical property with a lot of sweet smelling and tasting things. Having had my heart broken by one who wore this as a perfume has been interesting in the development of my relationship with cottonwood to say the least. It truly is a great soothing balm, figuratively and literally!

golden poplar bud oil

golden poplar bud oil

The buds also make a most fantastic incense. Once dried and crushed I mixed it with red cedar heartwood to make a lovely sweetening, soothing, clearing and blessing smudge. Try it, you won't be disappointed. 

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.