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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: THRU-HIKING THE 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.

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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.