Monthly Archives: April 2011

Did You Conjure It Back?

My first ritual blade was a butterfly knife I purchased at the Douglas County Gun & Knife Show, back in my junior year of high school.  Being the particular brand of young fool that I was, I carried it everywhere, despite its tendency to slip out of my pocket at inopportune moments.  Inevitably, I lost it: it slipped out of my pocket one day on the bus ride home.  Some weeks later, it reappeared: tumbling out of a stack of papers that I hadn’t touched in months, falling open and sticking into the ground at at my feet.

A few years later, I lost another knife in similar circumstances: it fell out of my pocket as I was walking home from the coffee shop.  Somehow, while cutting through a wide park I on the way home from work the next day, I managed to trip over the lost knife.  Yes, I walked that route a lot … but the odds of that are still pretty slim.

Monday, I lost my wallet in my night class.  I pulled it out of my skirt pocket when I went through the drive-through for dinner and I stuffed it in the inside breast pocket of my coat.  When I got home from class, the zipper was undone and the wallet was gone.  I searched the apartment, called the school, emailed the professor, and ultimately cancelled my debit cards.  This morning I found my wallet back … in the belt pouch I hadn’t worn since the weekend.

“Did you conjure it back?” Aradia asked me.

Not on purpose.  I’m embarrassed to admit that it never even occurred to me.

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Astrological Characterization

For all that I have been a self-identified occultist since the age of sixteen, I am woefully ignorant of matters astrological.  Don’t get me wrong – I spent my time studying sun-signs, just like everyone else.  But I never graduated into complete charts.  I didn’t even really know that they existed until well after I’d grown bored with the subject.  I fell for the pseudo-scientific debunking games of folks like the Amazing Randy.  (Hey, don’t blame me: I went to public schools.  Critical thinking was something I learned later, out in the real world.)  Since those early days, I have since learned that astrology is a massive, complex area of study with multitudinous, conflicting schools of thought.  But it is only within the last year that I have begun to study it in earnest.

My initial forays have been sporadic.  I still have a half-dozen charts I’ve promised people I would complete for them as part of my studies.  (And I really will generate them soon.  Before I leave for Real College, even.)  Realistically, I’m only beginning to learn the vocabulary.  The underlying theses still elude me.

As you delightful readers may or may not know, I am a novelist.  A great number of my stories revolve around occult themes.  Having recently started a new project, I decided that an excellent way to work on character development for the protagonist, and as an excuse to work on something other than my homework, I would create a birth chart for her.

It’s been fascinating work so far.

My chief resources on this project – astrology in general, not just Dorothea Faigin – are Astrolog and Astrology: A Cosmic Science by Isabel M. Hickey.  The former came recommended by Chirotus, the latter I am “borrowing” from Aradia’s library.

 

Click image for full view.

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A Hasty but Productive Esbat

Last Friday I looked down at my calendar and was surprised to see that the full moon was that coming Sunday.  Given my recent track record, I wasn’t particularly surprised to be unaware of the moon’s phase – I was more shocked that I’d caught myself in time.

By Sunday, Aradia and I planned a dinner but no ritual and had gotten the house just barely clean enough to cook and host … but hadn’t quite planned the ritual.  We ended up playing it by ear, which worked out fantastically.

After working together off and on for the last year and a half, we’ve found that our synergy is such that we do not use traditional quarter-calls.  Instead, each of us takes a turn leading as we attune to each of the elements.

The Circle came together with a potency the likes of which I haven’t seen in some time.  After years of performing such rituals, our space is … accustomed to it.  Attuned.  Generally, we conjure a Circle to the perimeter of the office/temple area then push it out to the edges of the household.  That night it sprang up in two layers simultaneously: one around the temple, one at the edge of the property.

We had a bowl of water that we blessed, and which I used to consecrate a goddess-image I’ve been working with and which we (later) used to top off our latest batch of kobucha.  We charged a jar of tomato juice that Aradia used as a basis for a round of get-well potion.  Each of us took the opportunity to do a bit of candle-magic.

The chief purpose for the ritual was to provide a jump-start for our magical lives.  Though such things are traditionally reserved for the Dark Moon, the centerpiece of our ritual was a journey to the Underworld.  Specifically, we visited the Realm of Fire, using a meditative aide by Christopher Penczak from the Outer Temple book.

Finally, we concluded our rite with divination.  My own spread, I have already shared.  The others, of course, did their own.

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April Full Moon Reading

The full moon came as something of a surprise to me this month … again.  But the good news is that I saw the mark on the calendar before it had passed, and everything sort of fell into place after that.

Pasiphae and Aidan joined Aradia and I on Sunday night.  We played the whole thing by ear and it turned out wonderfully.  Well, it all turned out wonderfully except for the reading I did.  The tarot doesn’t often give me bad news.  This month I had a lot of it.

Now, my annual reading promised me an Ace of Wands April and a Prince of Wands May (or perhaps an AW Aries and an PrW Taurus … next Samhain I’ll be more specific when I do that reading).

HOUSE CARD GENERAL SPECIFIC
1st – Self, Viewpoint XVIII the Moon Unconscious forces, self-deception.  Facing the conflict between  internal forces Fear of the threshold.  Refusal to face something.  Self-deception.
Why, yes, I am pretty freaked out about this whole transition thing.  Why do you ask?
2nd – Finances, Income XVI the Tower Swift, shocking, and dramatic change. Radical change, but for better or worse?  The Tower is almost always for worse.  This worries me greatly.
3rd – Daily Experiences
immediate influence
X the Wheel of Fortune Rise or fall of fortune.  Transition to new phase.
Fate.
Transition via montage.
4th – Home
family, land, roots
6 Cups Childhood.  Nostalgia.
The Past.
Emo nostalgia whining.  Perhaps Aradia and I will be dwelling overmuch on the end of things.  Or perhaps I will simply be dwelling overmuch on the parallels between this situation and my previous departures from KC and St.L.
5th – Fun & Pleasure
children, hobbies
Ace of Swords Sense of power.  Strength.  Matters of intellect.  Decisions. School = fun?
Decision making.
6th – Work
illness, duty, routine
10 Cups Joy, emotional fulfillment, harmony, prosperity. Retirement?  Conclusion of business deal?
Graduation?
7th – Partnership XXI Justice Being judged.  A fair outcome.  Equilibrium, restoration of balance, strategy. Fair agreements, balanced life.
8th – Taboo / Crisis
sex, death, taxes, loans
5 Swords Defeat.  Kicking ass and taking names (but theirs or mine?).  One-ups-manship.  Embarrassment. MOHELA screws me?  I have to borrow more money from somewhere?
9th – Higher Perception 5 Pentacles Illness, misery, poverty. Disappointment,trouble.
10th – Recognition
career, status, ambition
5 Cups Decision regretted.  Loss.  Mourning. This does not bode well.
11th – Friendships Page of Pentacles Education.  Students. I suspect this means someone from my classes will be important this month.
12th – Secret Hopes & Fears
hopes, ambitions
Queen of Swords A cold, calculating person. Am I going to need to cut someone’s head off this month?  Or is this about my need to make my school decisions as rationally as possible
+2 – Current / Outside Influences Queen of Wands / XXI the World Balance of life and work.  Competence, energy, drive.  //
Natural conclusion, End of a journey. 
Although phrased dramatically, this is no news.  This appears to be very much about the end of my career at my junior college.  My concern is that I’m missing something here.

THEMES

Me & You – 1st & 7th – Moon, Justice

In many instances, the major arcana are the clearest symbols.  In their places, above, they are not incomprehensible – though “Justice” does confuse me a little as a relationship card – but as a progression … I must admit myself to be a little bit lost.

From Where to Where – 4th & 10th – 6 Cups, 5 Cups

This progression – or regression – appears straightforward.  I am going to spend a lot of time this moon second-guessing myself, looking at the path I’ve taken and the choices I’ve made.

Fire – 1, 5, 9 – Moon, 10 Cups, 5 Pentacles

There are no fire cards in my fire trine.  I have a watery major arcana, a water card, and an earth card.  This is a fairly serious imbalance.

Banzhaf’s Keywords says that this trine speaks to temperament and self-development, from which perspective these cards are a particularly mixed bag.  The facing of fears and delusions; emotional pinnacle and contentment; physical (or psychic?) illness.  I really need to keep my head straight this month.

Earth – 2, 6, 10 – the Tower, Ace of Swords, 5 Cups

There are no earth cards in my earth trine.  I have the Tower, a card that defies categorization, an air card, and a water card.  My material situation looks … well, I don’t think the word “dire” is entirely out of line. 

It’s no surprise that the Ace of Swords – ideas – will consume a great deal of my time.  I am still taking classes, after all.  The others, though …

Air – 3, 7, 11 – Wheel of Fortune, Justice, Page of Pentacles

Though Justice is an airy card, it is still of the major arcana, and the Wheel of Fortune defies categorization in the same way the Tower does.

Two major arcana cards in my air trine indicates that this is going to be a big issue.  Fortunately all of these cards are fairly fortuitous.  Things look good for my intellectual and artistic life.

Water – 4, 8, 12 – 6 Cups, 5 Swords, Queen of Swords

Only in my water trine do I have any cards of the associated element.  Here, it is the 6 of Cups – childhood memories and nostalgia.  The other two cards are air, demonstrating the primacy of my intellectual/rational life over my emotional needs and concerns.

Interestingly, this is the only trine without a major arcana card.  Whatever troubles I may have here, they will likely be less significant than those related to the other three elements.

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Beltane Mead

This morning I bottled last years Beltane mead, that it might have at least a little time to rest in the bottle before consumption.  This is my first mead to make it a year (or nearly) from start to bottle, and also my first done explicitly as a religious and magical rite.  It is, for the record, glorious.  A simple honey mead (3 lb : 1 gal), but I can no longer recall the yeast I used.  I think it was the Lavlin 1118, but I’m not certain.  Of course I can’t bottle without tasting, and it is delicious.  I have also used it to anoint a pair of idols that I am working with (slowly, cautiously … I’m still new to that).

Pasiphae, Aidan, Chirotus, and D were all there with Aradia and I at the creation.  I don’t know how many of them will be making it back out for the consumption.

The label, which I drew myself, is hidden behind the fold to avoid problems those few who might be viewing this post from work.  It’s an image of the horned god, folks, he’s generally NSFW.

 

2010 Horned God's Blessing

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What I’ve Learned So Far From a Magical Relationship

In previous stages of my life, I was almost exclusively a solitary practitioner.  I met with other witches and magicians, learned what I could from them, socialized where I could.  I had my coffee house group, back in high school.  There was the WPA (back before it became the Cauldron).  I’ve attended public rituals of various kinds off and on, even tried to teach a few times.  But mostly, it’s just been me, myself, and I.

In the last two years, I’ve done more groupwork than in all the previous fourteen years of magical practice combined.  I’ve done public rituals that actually worked, joined a practice group that almost became a coven before it fell apart, tried to show a few things to a pack of young people at school.  And all throughout it all, I have maintained a regular and powerful practice with my partner, Aradia.

Before all else, keeping a magical practice with your lover is every bit as powerful, transformative, and awe-inspiring as it’s supposed to be.  It is more intimate than all but the very best sex, and the synchronicity it builds makes everything else better, more harmonious.

You see a lot written about that synchronicity.  It’s mostly pretty fantastic and romanticized: empathic links bordering on mindreading, unity of will that precludes disagreements, mind-blowing mutual orgasms, prescient knowledge of where the other is and what they’re doing.  If these extremes are possible, though, Aradia and I haven’t reached them, nor have any couple I know of.

What the myth leaves out is even more to the point.  The empathic bond that can create a closed circuit of escalating glee can just as readily bring both partners spiraling downward in the middle of say, a panic attack, or at the end of a bad day.  We’ve experienced both varieties.  “Is this headache mine or yours?” is a conversation that Aradia and I have actually had.  We get sympathetic foot and leg pains.

We’ve shared dreams a few times.  The incident that exemplifies the oddities of our synchronicity was that once, when I was having a fried chicken craving that had been twice thwarted by nasty, dried failures, she dreamed of going on a fruitless quest for rich, juicy fried chicken.  She also has more dreams that are completely, random, and nonsensical than she ever had before knowing me.

We appear frequently in one-another’s tarot spreads.  When we have plans together for an evening, that usually shows up as well – a couple of weeks ago, for example, we both drew the Princess of Disks on a night we had already planned to see Pasiphae to do tarot readings for her.

None of these things have shown up in any sources that I’ve ever encountered.  Which is interesting, because I don’t believe for a moment that our experience is isolated or unique.  More research is required, I suppose.

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March Full Moon Reading

The full moon came while Aradia and I were on a mad, seven-day road trip to visit four of the schools to which I have applied.  We were in Chicago, staying with old friends, and managed to take the time to do our monthly readings. 

My annual reading promised me a 5 of Swords month in March, which I definitely felt – late papers, stress, exhaustion – and an Ace of Wands month for April, which I am definitely already experiencing – with nearly 4000 words written already on various school and personal projects, and a new short story draft completed.

Here is my reading for the moon which has almost passed:

HOUSE

CARD

GENERAL MEANING

SPECIFIC MEANING

1st – Self, Viewpoint

6 Cups

reawakening of the spirits, emotional recovery, and well-being

enjoyment of work, finding one’s center, and being open to experiences

2nd – Finances, Income

8 Disks

Cautious new beginning, moderation, and patience

waiting for an opportunity,

3rd – Daily Experiences

immediate influences

Knight of Swords

versatility, experience, emphasis on the rational mind,

moving directly toward one’s goal

4th – Home-place

family, land, roots

3 Cups

fulfillment, joy, well-being

fruitful relationship, time of joy

5th – Fun / Pleasure

children, hobbies,

IX the Hermit

contemplating what is essential, seclusion

stay home and do homework instead

6th – Work

illness, duty, routine

9 Cups

optimism, meaningful experiences, quiet happiness

enjoyment of work, advantageous conclusion of contract

7th – Partnership

associations, spouse

6 Disks

increase, material gain, welcome development

fruitful relationship, happiness in love

8th – Taboo / Crisis

sex, death, taxes, loans

8 Cups

weakness, broken hopes, resignation

I’m afraid of failure: duh

9th – Higher Perception

journey, movement

10 Wands

blocked development, problems with authority, “straight jacket”

mastering inner tensions through external effort

10th – Recognition

career, ambition, status

XIII Death

parting, natural end, renunciation

fulfilling an assignment, retirement

11th – Friendships

groups, social activities

VII the Chariot

mood of departure, thirst for adventure, assertive will

new relationship, animated impulse, decisive action

12th – Secrets & Fears

hopes, ambitions

10 Cups

fulfillment, culmination, success,

yes, I’m just as scared of victory as of defeat.  duh

+2 – Current Position / /

Outside Influences

Ace of Cups / 5 Cups

bliss, inner wealth, openness //
dashed expectations, disappointement
 

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Struggling for Practice

My actual ability to maintain a regular practice is better than my ability to maintain this blog … but not by much.  Since staring the new semester, my life has been a mess of work, school, not-quite-enough sleep, and a few other troubles that I’ll actually get into in posts of their own.

I’ve pretty much lost track of the moons.  I didn’t even do a Full Moon reading in February, and I haven’t ever gotten around to decoding the one I did in March.  I haven’t checked back with my annual reading since January.  I haven’t done a Dark Moon journey in longer than I care to contemplate, and Aradia and I didn’t get our Yule altar down until Ostara.  I missed the last Dark Moon by a matter of days, even as I was slowly drafted this post. 

Of course, there’s no chance that all of this is related to how stressed out I’ve been lately, is there?  No, perish the thought!

Things are finally looking up.  I did (finally) start my Imbolc mead with a little help from a late snowstorm and our Brid candles.  I’m researching recipes for a similarly belated Ostara mead, but the internet is being less than helpful.  I have done public Tarot readings on the last two First Fridays.  I have gotten back to doing weekly and daily readings – three- and one-card respectively.

You can’t change the past.  All I can do is strive to do better. 

I’m getting ready to bottle my Beltane mead – I finally have artwork for the bottle.  Sadly, it looks like Aradia and I will be celebrating that sabbat by ourselves – Pasiphae and Aidan are otherwise occupied, as are others we’ve worked with in the past.  Which will make things interesting, as duo Beltane rituals run an above average risk of ending in pregnancy.  Some creativity may be required.

We will be out at Gaea, though.  So perhaps we will be able to join a public rite, or be invited to a smaller one.

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“Kneeling Satyr”

IMG_0288

Lo, behold the satyr wild – fierce and bold and free –

from Dionysos’  revel he but stops to rest

and fall upon upon a bended knee,

‘neath twisting branches verdigris,

and offer thanks for  life by Bacchus blessed.

 

Crowned he is by curling locks and grapen vine,

a face cursed by beauty, yet lit by wicked grin:

for his sculpted chest is brazen, bare, and fine,

and ‘twixt lean hips kitled in goat-skin,

hangs Priapos’ boon, not quite hidden.

 

One clawed hand he rests on muscled thigh,

his breath restored, and his ardor keen.

The other paw he lifts toward gods and sky –

his eyes fierce-bright with silver sheen –

and that grin, first wicked, leers now obscene.

A poem from my Creative Writing class.  Prior to this class, I had not written poetry since high school, and it is doubtful that I will ever do so again unless similarly forced.  Still, I’m not displeased with this piece: an ode to a statue, perhaps once a lamp, almost certainly an idol.  The photograph is mine, taken in the Nelson-Atkins museum of Kansas City, MO.

Those who know me in the real world, of course, have already seen this poem posted elsewhere, but not the picture.

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