Moon of My Life, My Sun and Stars

Attention to the blog has been lax as of late but this is not a symptom of my studies in the arts of mind, body, and soul. I’ve introduced coherent breathing to my daily yoga practice and since I’m still in the beginning stages, anxiety relief is short lived but it is getting longer every day even by a few minutes. The body, after yoga, feels awake and physical relief is long term as long as I practice daily which is to say if I skip a day, the aches and pain do come back not long after.

While I have nearly a dozen pages of ideas to write for Effing Mindful, I am finding myself at a loss for words not only on Effing Mindful but also on other topics. A blog I write graphic novel reviews for lightly admonished me recently that I was to no longer receive ARCs since I was woefully behind on my submissions by like months. Connected to this is I am losing potential paid writing work because I cannot find the motivation to apply but also work on samples needed for the applications. I cleaned out some notes on a book I started years ago and found this was nearly the sixth time I’ve rebooted the project. I have no reason as to why these things are happening or why I am so reluctant to do the work but I can say seeing how much I have lost in terms of potential earnings and work most recently is sobering.

Another reminder of my lost writing work came today when I received a submission to a ‘zine I wanted to publish back in the spring of 2017. I did very little advertising, relying mostly on Duotrope to do the work for me, which wasn’t enough since I received very few submissions. I nearly forgot the ‘zine in its entirety until the submission appeared in my inbox. I wrote back to the author releasing the piece back to them and deleted the blog. The ‘zine was not the only blog I removed as I also deleted effing gratitudes since its purpose was short lived. a courtesan poet, the poetry blog I wrote for the month of April, was also deleted because I hated the name and I wanted to start submitting the work to other publishers and many of those publishers won’t consider something if it’s already online, even on a personal blog.

I’m consolidating my publishing empire.

Lastly, I exported the posts from rituals of woo and imported them here to go on to then deleted the blog because having that blog and this one seemed redundant.

A couple of months ago, I wrote

I wanted spirituality to be incorporated into Effing Mindful because whether you are spiritual or religious, it all comes down to not only your sense of self but of community and ritual as well as a sense of belonging and lastly, of being grounded in your being which is literally the number one positive effect of living a mindful life.

That remains true. I wanted to keep rituals of woo up for posterity but I decided perhaps despite good intentions, being spread out all over the place was not in my favor.  If you’re curious about the ideas I was beginning to explore with rituals of woo, the posts are marked with their own category. (I was doing a daily tarot card read for a while which I may start again because it helped with my anxiety by being able to work out what I was thinking.)

I’ve been working on the acceptance that just because there may be kinks in the process does not mean I am a failure or should I stop. I feel the hiccups in my writing work is directly parallel to my mindfulness work. I have finally found a practice that is working for me right now but it took many months of venturing into other practices to find something that fits. I don’t know if my current practice will be long term but that’s okay as I have today and that is what is most important.

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Honoring Mabon

It’s been a long time, I know, and I’m sorry.

Mr. Brisngr and I own a cabin in Northern Michigan about a mile from the 45th parallel. Since my job hunt proved fruitless this spring (anyone needing a librarian?), we decided to spend the summer at the cabin and I hoped to connect with the gods and goddesses since our cabin would give me all the solitude and tools I needed to call and worship.

But I did nothing but the gods and goddesses did not forget me. A slow smile would creep across my face when I was outside and the breezes would cause the treetops to move — they were with me even if I wasn’t with them.

Michigan, Northern Michigan specifically, was home to dozens of Native Americans / First Peoples tribes who have now mostly dwindled to one or two. No one had told me directly but I’ve always thought the 45th parallel would be home to magic and ley lines based on the areas history and other lore but I found nothing except an obscure article connecting US cities on the 45th parallel to other cities around the world with Trieste, Italy as the primary significance of some sort. I want to write a (fiction) book about the gods, fairies, and other otherworldly things that exist in our world and theirs but I am already discouraged by what I have found. Perhaps this is the gods and goddesses ways of telling me to dig deep and create my own lore, my own history. I really hope so.

#

I have not forgotten my journey or intent for the discovery of my spiritual path. One of the first things I did when we got to the cabin was to find and pack the rest of my books on paganism and related subjects for the journey home so I could have my entire library in one space. I did, however, bring my tarot cards with me but those remained wrapped neatly in the velvet bag, protected by the crystals placed within. Now that I am home, I want to get back on the path I have strayed from. It’s becoming more crucial, not only for my mental health but also for my spirituality that I continue on my search. The last time I wrote I mentioned Unitarian Universalists, a non-denominational church which also has a pagan chapter, CUUPS, that I have been meaning to also check out. I’ve been so rife with anxiety and depression this summer, I long for some kind of community of like-minded people and while I see myself as a solitary practitioner, UU and CUUPS may be what I need for the community. I went to a local UU meeting in the spring and I’m planning on going on Sunday. The local CUUPS meeting is that night and they are celebrating Mabon.

Which is why I’m back writing here today.

I subscribe to the Patheos Pagan newsletter and in a recent mailing, there is an article honoring Mabon. I’ve been thinking about the fall equinox lately, and how I could participate in Mabon, and I begin to think of it not so much as a “reap what you sow” but rather “out with the old and in with the new.” There is a French philosophy around “la rentrée” which means “the beginning of September” where you would not wait until January 1 to reboot your life instead you do it on September 1. I just found out about this yesterday so while it is late in the game but with Mabon coming up, I would reboot my life at the equinox and give myself fully to the gods and goddesses. I have an idea for my offering which I’ll share with you on another day.

 

when all the stars align

THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering 5
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot

April was indeed a cruel month. My unemployment ended. I sold my car for financial and I wasn’t driving it reasons. I was denied for disability. And the big one—my mother died.

I’ve been struggling with myself these last few months—I haven’t posted since February!—at one point I attended a Unitarian Universalists1 church here in town and found it to be helpful but I haven’t gone back (much to my regret). My life is a complete mess in some ways and it is completely stripped, naked, and ready for imprinting in others.

My mother’s death came as no surprise to the family tho’ we didn’t expect it to happen when it did. She was in the hospital for a surgery she had been cleared for, came out of recovery in great spirits, called my brother to let him know the good news, and was dead an hour after that phone call. My brother is taking this much harder than I—he was significantly closer to her, picking up the ball when I stepped away from caring for her a few years back. Relationships between mother and daughters are always fraught but while I gave her a eulogy fit for the gods, I was the afterthought, someone she often said she was “jealous” of for my gifts and yet she denied me a lot of support and motherly love over the years. Lest you think I am exaggerating, when I was 17 I attempted suicide by swallowing a handful of antidepressants. The medics wanted to hospitalize me but mother, who was a nurse, convinced them I was fine under her care. I was feeling shaky but I could get around so I left with some friends and when I came back, she locked me out of the house. I banged on the door, she opened it up and cooly told me next time I wanted to attempt suicide, I should with a knife and not her pills. If a friend hadn’t been standing next to me when mother said this, I would have thought I would have completely made it up.

That one action over twenty years ago gives you everything you need to know about my relationship with my mother.

I came back to the fold, as it were, when my brother got married in October of last year. She cried, I cried, and some part of me hoped she and I could work on our relationship. In December I tried to have a sit down with her about several thing and she shut not only herself down but also me. Mr. Bringr said it was obvious she was lying—for what reason, I’ll never know. When I stepped away from caring for her and ended up not speaking to her for a few years, I made peace with the fact I’ll never get the answers to any of my questions. That meeting with her cinched it. So when she passed, I was upset—you only get one monther—but I felt more relieved not only was she no longer in pain but I could put away my Janus face on my relationship with her. (It did not help when one of her best friends approached me at the funeral and told me mother said, upon my return to the fold, her life was now complete.)

I hadn’t planned on spending the near entirety of this post on my mother’s death—even in my petulance I have to admit my grief may not seem obvious but there is definitely a loss in my life. Having come to terms with our relationship long ago, working through my grief has not been as terrible as I would have thought. Then again, I could be in complete denial.

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Mr. Bringr and I split for about 15 months and the main condition of us getting back together was to see a couple’s counselor. We see one once a month and she’s pretty awesome and also full of lots of woo. We talked about energy work today and how he and I needed to be in the present and not pull in the past when we have disagreements. She’s also recommended a new talking therapist for me—who is also very woo–when my current talking therapist called me on Thursday past and asked me to drive her to another city about an hour away for her to attend an all day conference. She said she would be paying me and giving me a free session. She also stated she didn’t think her car would make it and she didn’t want to rent a car. I should not have to point out how badly overbounds this woman has stepped over and she’s getting fired this week.

#

I haven’t slept on or touched my cards in a month. I decided to do a pull today and as you might have guessed it, the card is right on the money.

Card: Minor Arcana – Nine of Swords
Deck: Rider-Waite
Key meanings: Anxiety, worry, sleeplessness, stress, backstabbing, depression, illness

The Ultimate Guide to Tarot: “I call this Nine “the 3 a.m. card” because it describes the meaning so accurately: It’s what you wake up worrying about in the small hours of the night, showing you are dealing with high levels of anxiety. The Nine of Swards occasionally comes up in a reading to show mental health issues associated with anxiety, such as panic disorder or anxiety and depression. Insomnia and nightmares are additional interpretations.”

The Tarot Lady’s Tarot Card by Card: “When the Nine of Swords appears in a reading, it’s a sign that life may be getting under your skin. Sleepless nights and depression may be affecting your quality of life. Nightmares. What pain are you dealing with? Consumed by worry. Mental problems. Isolation. Difficult endings. Getting knifed in the back. Feeling like the victim. Crying the blues. I have also seen this card indicate illness, hospital stays – or rehab if combined with The Devil. Mental suffering.”

My interpretation: I have mentioned in the past I am mentally ill—bipolar, general anxiety, to name a few—and I’ve been struggling with it more than usual these last few months. The bowels of April did not help. Mr. Bringr mentioned the other day some of the signs (overeating, anxiety, anger) have started to surge more so than usual so it may be time to change my drugs. But following the outline above, pulling this card didn’t surprise me even tho I did not cleanse my deck before hand. There is so much more in the world other than me and at times, like today by the presence of this card, I’m ever so glad it/they exist. It gives me some comfort and hope.

1. They have a pagan group, CUUPS, which I want to check out but haven’t yet.

daily reading: The Hierophant (reversed)

The Hierophant

As some of you know, I’m an American and even if you just brush up against the news on a semi-regular basis, you know that we’re in chaos. I also have dual citizenship in Canada but my passport has expired and one of the first things I’m doing if I get money back from doing my taxes this year is get that sucker renewed.

I’ve been helping around town as much as possible to support the resistance, I’m calling my politicians, I’ve reached out to the local mosque to offer my support, I’m participating as much in ways that doesn’t aggravate my bipolar symptoms. (I’m on a good cocktail of drugs but having a nervous breakdown in 2015 really fucks with your perspective, surprise surprise.)

My cards have never been that far from me, I sleep with them under my pillow to keep imprinting my power / essence onto them. I felt so much better just pulling them today that it confirmed I need to keep doing this on a regular basis. The quasi-bad dreams I had when I first got them have given away to regular dreams; the kind where I’m dating Tom Hiddleston. You know, that kind of thing.

My spirituality is important to me. Right now I find myself thinking more about the Divine every time something happens in the world — how the Divine will not give me only hope, but also console me in this time of need. I do not want to create a practice where it’s all take and not give. I’m letting my heart and desires guide me. I know I’m going to be solitary in practice because I will more than likely incorporate other practices into a singular one path because the idea of a singular The Right Way™ gives me the hives.

note: I’ve added Biddy Tarot to the listing below because their site gets fairly comprehensive on card meanings.


Card: Major Arcana – The Hierophant
Deck: Rider-Waite
Key meanings (reverse): Restriction, challenging the status quo

Rider-Waite’s Card of the Day interpretation (right side up): Share your secrets with others and open yourself up to their needs.
Biddy Tarot: (The reversed meaning is quite long, so I’m just giving a summary here.) The reversed Hierophant is about questioning tradition and asking yourself whether what you are doing is really the right thing by you. You may have been running on automatic so far and following the crowd but now you realise that perhaps things are not the way they seem and changes need to be made.

In this way, the Hierophant reversed is like a rebellious teenager or young adult who begins to question society and participate in political activities. There may be a run-in with authorities or conflict with a parent or authoritative figure.
The Ultimate Guide to TarotWhen reversed, the Hierophant shows poor leadership. You may be mislead by an incompetent or egotistic individual at work or on your spiritual path. This is the card of the bad guru— the judgmental teacher who is more interested in furthering his ambitions than supporting you in yours. In work, the Hierophant reversed can also show institutions that need restructuring: poor advice, mistrust, and wrong decisions with moral repercussions. It is better to seek your own path than to stay with a mentor or plan that doesn’t suit your needs. Be a free spirit.
The Tarot Lady’s Tarot Card by CardTime to fight the man! Conformity goes out the window and a new order is ready to rumble into place.  Question EVERYTHING. Don’t accept the standard way.  This is time for revolution, even if only a personal inward one.  Break the rules and think for yourself.  Problems with authority.  Feeling like an outcast in your tribe.  Rebellion.  Originality. Don’t be a biter.

My interpretation: When I pulled this card and looked up the first meaning, the words “holy fuck” came burbling to my lips because my interpretation is pretty much what I wrote in the intro to this post without even knowing what card was getting pulled. It also solidifies I need to keep fighting the man (his royal asshole, president cheeto) and rejecting what we’re being told via “fake news.” It also gives me hope that the U.S. can get itself out of this mess and hopefully, HOPEFULLY, the revolution will not end in bloodshed.

Daily Hávamál: Stanza 37

I mentioned recently I subscribe to a daily Hávamál list. This is today’s Hávamál:

Original
Bú er betra
þótt lítit sé
halr er heima hverr
blóðugt er hjarta
þeims biðja skal
sér í mál hvert matar

Translation
Even a small home is
better than none
At home, each person is
their own master.
For it does the heart ill
to be forced to beg
for meat at every meal.


With the current political climate in the US, this seems a good reminder we have so much within each other that we should not be afraid as each small home, a person, is as welcoming as a large one.

Balsamic Moon

According to my pagan calendar (of which I use many in Google calendar and holy cats! Depending on what faith you swing, there is nearly a holiday / remembrance / something nearly every day), today is the Balsamic Moon and it asks this question:

What stories about my wounds no longer serve me? It seems appropriate.


One of the first things I mention on my about page is that I’m bipolar. I added that because I think of those who have mental illnesses and our search for paths is different but as I wrote that line, it came to mind that everyone has different paths they take — I absolutely reject sameness in search of belief systems. Still, work with me here with where I’m going.

I view the label “bipolar” much like I view other descriptors of myself: tall, brunette, tattooed, and so on. It’s an aspect of me and not all of me but lately, it’s been taking a front seat. I’m a jumble of pathways where no beginning or ending is known. It often feels as if I am a powder keg ready to blow.


I’ve been having mini-meltdowns near weekly for a while now and that type of energy use exhausts me. I’m medicated, I see a talking therapist, and I meditate — so I’m doing all the good things but still, being bipolar is a chemical thing and it’s not something I can control. I can manage it, see above list, but control? No.

I don’t know if I have mentioned here but I had a nervous breakdown in October of 2015 and I’ve been clawing my way back to some sort of “normalcy” ever since. All the close people in my life are thrilled with my work and I know I’ve made incredible improvement but it’s pretty clear to me and those close to me I’m not ready to really have what most people consider a “life”: having a job, daily responsibilities, taking care of more things than myself, my dog, and Mr. Brisingr. Today I saw my therapist, got gas for our car, and did a bit of grocery shopping and I’m exhausted. The “I need to take a nap and recharge” exhausted. “I need to not interact with people for a few days” exhausted. It’s frustrating living like this – not having some semblance of how your day is going to be no matter how good your drugs or how many of the positive things you do know – it is all a struggle. And sometimes, much more often late, I have to dial back as those struggles then become overwhelming and I can’t breathe.


What’s frustrating is looking at the year or two leading up to the breakdown and seeing that it’s coming straight on like a train with such clarity it makes your heart ache.

What’s frustrating is knowing that at one point you were normalcy was your jam but looking back now and realising you were mostly manic when that happened and accepting you’ve never really had a normalcy.


So what does this all mean in regards to Rituals of Woo? Well, I want to keep moving forward with my practice but I have to go much slower. While it seems that pulling a card of the day wouldn’t be that big of a deal, it is in my world. My spirituality is important, that is without question. I side-eye heavily when I find blogs I really like and they just disappear. Poof! One day you’re reading this great post and a year later you find yourself wondering what happened and discover they have not updated since that post. I don’t want to do that here – this little blog is getting some traction and I don’t want to lose that momentum, so I’ll continue to be here. Maybe not every day but enough to let you know I haven’t forgotten what this all means to me. I know I will never win the battle against my illness but at least while I’m here it can placated enough to let me be in the moment.

 

 

 

feasting with wise Fjalar

The Hávamál is a collection of poems, attributed to Odin, that give advice on life and conduct in one’s life. I subscribe to a daily Hávamál list and today’s stanza seems a bit apropos:

Original
Ölr ek varð
varð ofrölvi
at hins fróða Fjalars
því er ölðr bazt
at aptr of heimtir
hverr sitt geð gumi

Translation
I got drunk, Far too drunk,
when feasting with wise Fjalar.
The best kind of feast is the one
that you can still remember the next morning.
-Hávamál: Stanza 14

My sister-in-law and I have been killing 2-3 bottles of wine a night and if we’re not drinking wine, we’re drinking beer with our dinner. I haven’t killed mother yet and Mr. Bringr isn’t being as surly as I thought he would be. Happy yule to me!