Tuesday Tarot – Give Me A Moon?

Fingertips very sore today, typing will be minimal!  Yes, there are the final four Major cards – all neatly scanned together weeks ago.

However, since it is painful to type – you get to muse on your own about the final three until next week.  I will discuss only #18 The Moon!  

The moon is full today, so it seems appropriate to focus so singularly rather than skipping the Tuesday Tarot entirely as I first thought about doing.  Laura Perry takes this card in a direction I do not agree with at all.  Her entire definition is what I have long regarded as the proper interpretation of a reversed presentation.  Her operative phrase is “I deceive” and the Linear B tract says “Neither”.  She insists the card means illusion  and specifically self-deceit, seeing reflections and thinking it is reality.  As I said, for me, this IS the correct read for a reversed Moon.

To me, the Moon card always speaks of the tides of life and intuitive pullings.  It suggests being at a low point and seeking a way to rise.  It may suggest occult forces, secret enemies, the need for psychic protection and attention to dreams for a useful psychological clue.  It can suggest a flood tide of change — usually voluntary, but tumultuous all the same.

It is a potent card for me presently; lots of change in my life tides of late have me feeling rather wave wracked.  I am dreaming in significant “Get a clue and a BREAK” ways.  I intend to take the advice of dreams and this card and work some “me” time into my crazy life ASAP!

Tuesday Tarot – Late Again!

The last three days has been intensity in motion. So again, I am late. Thus is life, it is merely peculiar in that my busyness has actually been semi-priestessy in nature instead of mere mundane hectic.

But I now will focus and calm myself continuing the viewing of Laura Perry’s Minoan Tarot!  Again, this week’s selection begins with a card I ADORE as an “instead” of the traditional representation of a Christian devil.  I love the Major Arcana card

#15 The Minotaur – the operative phrase assigned to this card is “I fear.” and the Linear B inscription reads “bindings/ties.”  What more poignant representation of captivity/enslavement/a state of being trapped than the Minotaur?  If the Major cards suggest things that come from outside ourselves, at least partially, or through poor choices that we DO participate in?  Well, the Minotaur – cursed from birth to terrify and horrify, so thus finding himself confined and confused and left to become a monster in his lonely rage and impotence – is there a better image.  It is not about evil; we need no Christian devil (that often demonized the image of older gods).  It is about the darker self, the denied self, the neglected self — the vampire times starved self that we all might lock away in shame.  It is about obsession, fear, addictions, compulsions – it is about material affairs denied spiritual outlet.  This card shouts of the need to embrace and rehabilitate the darkness within so it serves you as your inner ally.  Reversed, it warns you of projecting your darkness onto others and attacking THEM, instead of facing your own rejected self.

This card reminds me of the last three days.  Sunday we attended what was called a “celebration of life”; in other words, a funeral/memorial service.  For a tiny baby girl who had one normal month of life before she was battered and assaulted so viciously that the next two months were spent dying.  It was like being immersed in fire to sit through Disney montages and music amidst bright balloons and an insistence upon forced jollity.  Some bereft mourners fled to the parking lot to weep without breaking the rules of this celebration.  When did we become so ashamed to be justifiably angry and to mourn with understandable tears?  When did we become bound to a convention of pretending there is joy instead of deep sorrow?  Monday, here, we slept — exhausted with anger and grief for those forbidden to show their grief.   And today, we dressed and left to go escort a tiny white casket to the crematorium.  This was no celebration of joy and blessedly private.  There were muted tears, and hands clinging to each other.  This brief all but silent affair felt real and genuine – but it certainly was not public, but hidden.  Are we, as a culture, locking our most serious innermost moments away in a labyrinth with NO public exit?

#16 The Tower – has the phrase “I collapse.” and the inscription “Palace” and portrays  a Cretan palace overwhelmed by a tsunami such as destroyed at least one coast of Minoan Crete when the massive volcano on Thera exploded.  Perry attributes this card to upheaval, crisis, ego destruction and revelation.   She credits it to a “force majeur” beyond personal control.  It has links to the 10 of daggers and 5 of horns — cards I personally prefer to never see in a spread (and yet had both of those in one spread together this week).  What she doesn’t say in her book, is what some more traditional mythos attributions do — the “tower” in question is NOT the “house of god” or a palace, but the walls of hell, which Christ allegedly broke in his three days buried and vanished from this world.  In other worlds — this breaking is a necessary, a good breaking.  I think either definition suffices — because no matter how needful, it isn’t going to feel very good while it happens to you!  The reversal means you are clinging to something fallen, and the harder you resist the more you will lose in energy wasted holding up something that needed knocking down.

 

#17 The Star – I always like to see this card, but this image doesn’t much move me, I admit.  The phrase is “I hope” and the inscription is “everyone/thing” — light at the end of the tunnel is good thing, yes.  Inspiration and a change of heart is a good thing.  But I somewhat dislike it being equated to “hope” as that follows on the oft quoted word “faith” — which I have none of and want none of, either.  Hope can be a poison, keeping you from seeing just HOW dark something is, keeping you in a position of subservience that needs to be over.  The reverse, Perry insists, is clinging to fear and doubts.  I would suggest it means maybe the light at the end of some tunnels is a train.

 

Tuesday Tarot

On with the twenty two major cards of Laura Perry’s Minoan Tarot!  I am still loving the colors!  They speak to me of the way I visualize the Elements — yellow for Air (damn, what a comment on air pollution, eh?!), red for Fire, blue for Water, and green for Earth — the white for me would be that exciting, intangible fifth thing — spirit, that thing that enlivens.

The Empress card has “I connect.” as the key phrase and the Linear B word for “community”.  Other than the silly side-saddle riding position, I have no particular issue with the image.  “I connect” is about adequate for the female political power this card represents to me.  Perry sees it more as a feminine force of Nature – something nurturing, I’m not sure I would word it that way.  The reverse would be a rejection of connection and interdependence, an insistence on going it alone and losing, she says.  Hmmm, I wonder if anyone ever told Elizabeth I of England that; or Catherine of Russia?

The Emperor – apparently just a man and his kitty cat pal – has the key phrase “I order.” and the Linear B inscription for “direct/command.”  Did some man potty train Ms. Perry at gunpoint?  Again, she feels these are cards representing masculine forces in Nature.  Not sure what that would be, after all we used to name storms with female only names!  I always view these cards as being about political nature — and thus this card of authority and self control means plans carried to completion.  The reverse?  A lack of that control, self inflation and bullying.  Gee, who could that possibly remind me of, eh?

The Adept – I rather like the card most commonly called the Hierophant or the Pope to be portraying a female figure instead.  Goodness knows after #3 and #4 being so not gender neutral, I needed SOMEthing.  The phrase given this card is “I learn.” making the bare breasted lady more of a scholar than authority.  Perry wants this card to speak of the human creation of religions – with all the possible errors that includes – but also of the good to be found IN those religions.  I prefer to think of it as connoting a balance of intellect and spiritual pursuits AS a human, not sacrificing pragmatism or experimentation.  The reverse, somewhat obviously, signals a slavish attachment to dogma and fundamentalism.

Luckily, once I get done with the card descriptions here that include Perry’s particular emphasis?  I will go back to seeing my OWN meaning and ignore most of the heavy handed gender assignments.  I do like the images, but I wonder if Perry missed the conclusion of many who studied Minoan Crete — that of an incredibly egalitarian society?

 

 

Wednesday Woo – and Tarot Bonus

Some years back, after President Obama’s second election victory, but after it became clear that a terrible racial and political backlash was threatening all progress, I engaged in something risky and foolish.  I tried to launch something akin to what Adept Dion Fortune did in Britain in WWII– launch a sort of magical counter-movement.  I got no takers and much criticism for the very “presumptuous” idea.  Nonetheless, I (in this case unwisely) persisted.  First, I experimented with astral travel to explore the “temple” built by Fortune’s group of occult workers.  I found enough with my sparse energy and skills to convince me it did exist, that it was real.

Why was I wrong?  Because at the same time in my life, I was challenged with a foundering marriage and PTSD issues of the mate AND my own.  I was at the low point of my adult life and I still wanted to play white magical knight?  Yes, yes, I can be a totally moronic idealist at times.   I learned much.  My efforts were not so much a failure as inadequate to the need; after about four months, I fell ill.  I sporadically kept up the effort for another year, and then; due to other physical issues not related to my energy work, I got REALLY ill.  I quit and put aside the book in which I kept track of my efforts.  It really was a sort of a Don Quixote mode, and I should never have taken it on all solo.

fullsizerenderToday, I got that book out again and wrote out notes on a tarot spread done to determine the needs of a new effort.  At last, not feeling completely alone and also in good health – mental, emotional, and physical – the Magical Battle for America is to be joined.  I am not sure quite how this will be done yet, but I have chosen to go with this, secrets in the open perhaps for those with the ability to read?  I began with a tarot spread to determine my needs in my effort to join with other practitioners to mount a magical resistance to preserve America from a crowd of venal, greedy, racist, misogynistic, religiously biased, spiritually constipated AMATEURS who are the current Administration.

I used my new Minoan Tarot deck and a Tree of Life spread.  It told me much I needed to know, but did not tell me to not try it.  Briefly, below, my read of the cards — not entirely analyzing all the linkages here, but hitting the high points of the new government Administration setting off my mental alarms, demanding I take action on every front:

#1 The Query’s Reason – (why I am asking).  Youth of Labryses, reversed. A card signifying lies for approval and as foundation, telling me of an amateur who lies to gain place and power – I think this card represents Steve Bannon.  The “fool” line connects to

#2 -Forces at Work – the Major Arcana16, the Tower also reversed, signifying a holding on to that which is already hopelessly fallen – in this case, old white guys demanding the past “good old days” be revived for their profit and comfort, regardless of the cost to the rest of the world. The “empress” line (female political power)crosses to

#3 Deeper Query – the Youth of Horns – and here is the President, not young, obviously — but a youth in experience of government, another amateur; this one financially motivated and inexperienced and connected to the card connoting Bannon by the “magician” line — signaling in this case an unhealthy “follower” relationship to the “idea man” Bannon.

#4 Projected development – the Maid of Rhytons – since this reading is to show me where I want to go, this card talks for first time of how to get there.  It suggests I must be guided my my own oft-mistrusted intuition and empathy, using my own inner voice as guide.  The “strength” line connects to card

#5 -Energy of Querent (me) – Major Arcana 9 Labyrinth (Hermit) – reinforces command to go within and mayhap USE my own Labyrinth in my efforts.  So, even as one of a group, I suspect I may be rather solitary?

#6 Saving Grace – Ace of Labryses – a new beginning needs logical rational work, and a willingness to examine and shake up not only ideas, but ideals in my tasking.  The “death” line of transformation connects to card

#7 Relationships encountered – Seven of Rhytons – suggesting I reward of emotional drive and operative pipe dreams, not only in others I suspect, but in myself.  The “Tower” line crosses to the next card, with a hint of knocking down those emotive drives for a colder rationality.

#8 Feelings of Querent – Lord of Labryses – telling me I feel deciding and active, my opinions here have knowledge to back them up; so I am not all fluffy bits of dream.

#9 Thoughts of Querent – Ten of Horns – an admission of my need to count on a sturdy physical base of operations, financial security and a home to operate from safely, securely.

#10 Physical Manifestation – Major Arcana #5 The Adept – (The Lady) I will seek knowledge – arcane/occult at need to re-create balance and harmony that seems to be draining out of America right now.  I must become adept….

#11 Secret Knowledge Needed – Major Arcana 13 Death – Ok, I admit it, I took a deep breath seeing this card as the secret.  Some, yes, would read it as a direct warning that I could be risking my life.  But I’ve see the Death card in so many layouts in my life and I am still here!  It really IS the card of transformation — I am seeing this working to EFFECT transformation; one should expect personal transformation in the process.  BE the change you wish to see in the world!

So, onward, braced and informed of what I need to pay attention to as I go forward…here we go.

 

A question for others?  Do you, if you do energy/magic work, do tarot before a working to get a forecast of how your planned action will go?

 

 

Tuesday Tarot

minoan-tarot-ma-backplateI have been excitedly awaiting the Minoan Tarot. I studied the book, which I often do not do, to be honest. Because this deck uses images from a pre-Christian period of history, I thought it was my best bet of getting a deck without the whole original sin/judgement day mentality of many traditional decks.  I was not wrong and this delights me!

However, as I mentioned last week, this deck has some different court cards — and the precise import of those cards also made me study the book Laura Perry includes with her tarot deck.  Most decks have face cards titled something like knight, princess, queen, king – four face cards per suite.  This deck has youths/maids, lords/ladies, and priest/priestess – six face cards per suite.  I find the youth/maid cards much like the more usual knight/prince/princess cards and those are more or less acceptable.

The real issue is her “defining” phrase – something she assigns to every card.  Perry goes to a lot of work explaining what an egalitarian culture Minoan Crete was in history — one of the things that has always appealed to me.  But with the court cards, her chosen phrases raised my hackles and the final pair?  The priest/priestess set really just jangled my nerves enough that for now I removed them from the deck completely.  So let’s get that roadblock out of the way at once, before going over the deck as I usually do — from Major to Minor Arcana portions.

There are slightly different images and I am at peace with the four suites  as Perry represents them.  Daggers equate to swords, but interestingly, are assigned to the element Fire, which has long been my personal instinctive preference. This is at variance with most tarot attributions.  Rhytons are Watery/emotional cups, Labryses are not Fire, but Airy/mental wands, and the Horns are Earthy Discs/Pentacles.  I like the color assignments as well – it gives a nice immediate image in the layout of what is most prominent.

minoan-tarot-court-priestsHere are the priests.  I like Perry’s use of color.  Male figures are rather more darkly complected than female figures – useful in images where both might have long hair and robes!  The little almost pictogram like figures printed on each picture are Linear B – the written language that archeologists DID manage to decipher.  (It is not, as first assumed, a real language of Minoan Crete – but an adaptation later by the Mycenaean Greeks, unlike the apparently unbreakable Linear A in the lost language of Crete.). Each card has one of these inscriptions meant to be significant to the card.  Some of these get very awkward, indeed – but that is a minor quibble.  The priest of Daggers, for instance, has a word meaning “leader” – but she doesn’t tell what it is, exactly, for it is a title, not a mere description.  But that does bring me to the deal-breaking quibble.  Each set of four cards has a descriptive phrase, you see?  The one for the priests is “I lead.”

minoan-tarot-court-priestess

Here are the priestess cards.    So, what would you think this most prominent female imaged court card might represent?  What might the important operative phrase be?

I embody.”

Mind you, the other court cards had this, to me, disturbing dichotomy for an allegedly egalitarian cultural milieu, too.  Maids merely “consider”, while Youths “explore.  The Lord “reacts, but the Lady “emotes.” (Emotes?  For fucks sake, emotes?!)  Perry does say a “Lady” can represent a male — one that emotes, apparently?  But the whole division of labor/effect bothers me.  The feminine faced cards of the court all seem relegated to passive roles.  Maybe with time, I will get over this quibble.  Maybe not.

But thus far, this is the only thing that gives me pause.  It seems rather grating to have masculine and feminine roles defined so narrowly.  Gender reinforcement is not what I expected of the alleged egalitarianism of Minoan civilization!  I greatly liked everything else about this deck as I went through it.  I may just decide to ignore her choice of phrasing.  Time will tell.

Tarot Teaser

minoan-tarot-ma-backplateNope, it is not yet Tuesday. But since I’ve scanned in my newest deck, I wanted to post a mini-teaser for the same.  My newest deck is the long awaited Minoan Tarot by Laura Perry.  Since I’ve long been a fan of Minoan Crete’s history, I was oh-so-ready for this deck!

And it may become my favorite and last deck once I get the bad taste of a couple minor quibbles out of my mouth. That will be the topic of Tarot Tuesday — those quibbles.

Today, I simply wanted to show you the backplate of the deck.  Very elegant and simple, right?  The stylized horns and the labrys.  One thing I like about this design is that you can’t tell which side is up and which is down (reversed).  Another deck I enjoy has this flaw – the backplate image, although attractive, has a clear up or down apparent. So, if I allowed a reader to select cards from the fanned out deck, the querent could easily avoid choosing reversed cards.

This deck very nicely avoided that issue!  While I rarely do cards in that way, I do offer the few I read for the option of selecting their own cards or the choice of me shuffling and dealing like a hand of poker!   Most people prefer to let me deal their presumed “destiny” – which strikes me odd.

Onward, tomorrow!  I must say, I feel a bit like nobody is interested at all — stats for the last tarot post said only 4 views happened.  Perhaps it is the odd way WP counts them making me feel invisible?  In any case, I would really appreciate comments and conversation about use of cards for either psychological inner work or divination.  I’d like to get the opinions of others on the cards I will show in the weeks ahead.  So please don’t be shy.

Tuesday Tarot – From Silly to Sublime

dragon-tarotI am NOT a collector of tarot cards. That said, I admit I have eight decks.  They range from curiosities that are rather silly, like a deck with dragons on every card.  I wish I had not somehow lost the wee booklet that came with this, it detailed where each mythical beast came from in culture/history!  I’ve never read a single spread with this tiny deck of brilliantly colored cards.  The reason is, I rarely use tarot for divinatory purposes.  I use it to get a psychological compass “fix” on where I am in my own head.  These images are not evocative of anything so personal.

walker-tarotNo, for the old unsubtle head-slap of self-awareness, I rely on more obvious images.  My oldest deck of cards is the “Barbara Walker Tarot.”  I don’t care for her revisionist history, although her knitting books were quite good.  Her cards, are for me more like the knitting books — direct and unmistakably punch-to-gut effective.  I admit, I use them less frequently these days – only when so emotionally roiled that nothing except a direct zap would get through my drama!  To this day, these are the cards I read most instinctively.  They are full of mythological characters and dire images.

cirqueThe prettiest deck I still own is the Gateway to the Divine Tarot.  I call it my “Cirque de Soleil” deck!  The “Hanging Man” looks like he is silk dancing.  The face cards are mostly stultifyingly boring.  The 15th Trump, commonly called the Devil, is SO mouthwateringly handsome that he would tempt anyone!  Apt, I suppose, for a card signifying addictions and compulsions!  The King of Wands looks like Elrond.  This is a nice “public” deck for people ooky-spookied out by tarot readings because it IS beguilingly beautiful.  For me, while it can be evocative, my mind makes a needle screeching on record (sorry, whippersnappers, if you don’t know what that is!) sound when I hit cards like “Judgement” with obvious  angels of Christian derivation.  (But I promise you, the “Devil” in this card is very much the son of morning, not Old Scratch!). Still, since most of the “public” one might conceivably read for likely IS nominally Christian — that would not bother them.  Thus, I keep this artful deck for parties and the public.

A word about that mental screech, ok?  Yes, I know the cards were developed in the Middle Ages when Europe WAS Christian, and likely as a sort of portable paper “Mystery Play” about how fallen man could resume a heaven-bound existence….there IS that theory.  For MY purposes, however?  That means diddly to me.  So I have tried numerous decks seeking to find one not so monotheistically inclined.  Even one purporting to be a  “Pagan 2000” deck failed utterly, with a very scary Devil and bodies rising from graves on Judgement.  I cut the prettier cards of that deck up to use in crafting projects!  

steampunkOne of my longtime favorite decks is Barbara Moore’s “Steampunk Tarot” – other decks of hers have left me cold in the over-artsy approach; but these are amusing.  They are also astonishingly non-sexist to look at; female trumps and face cards have a beautiful efficacy to their appearance.  The only Christian bit IS Judgement with a metal-winged angel.  The Devil is a horrific looking war machine, which certainly is a valid comment on modern life and death and addiction!  I always enjoy reading this deck.  Some of the cards are astonishingly lovely – like the Moon (upper right hand of photo) and black-winged Death with her Scythe!

vicsteamNow, a recently (last year) acquired novelty deck that is curiously neutral and takes a bit of getting used to is the Victorian Steampunk Tarot.  As you can see, the four Minor Arcana suites are using insects to represent the elemental values: Dragonflies for watery Cups, Moths for fiery Wands, Bees for airy Swords, and Beetles for earthy Coins.  The Major Arcana are more traditional with some pretty steampunk additions; Death is Poe-ish with a raven and skull with a ruby eye, the Hanged Man is a upside-down moon-faced clock pendulum.  The most overt Christian bit IS the Judgement card with a stone angel.  But over all, it is a nice novelty deck that would also be a great party deck — interesting, but not terrifying.  I do use it now and then, but admit to still stumbling over wanting to make Bees into FIRE, not Air because of those stingers I encountered SO often as a beekeeper!

prophecyAnother deck I got very recently, and that I’ve guiltily ignored in hectic life ever since, is the “Illuminating the Prophecy” deck.  It is possibly the most artistic deck I own, beautifully evocative and frankly pagan.  The Judgment card is a fallen crown, the Devil is a leering malevolent mask.  The Cups are represented, oddly, by corvid birds, which I frankly would have assigned to something Air-ish!  But crows and ravens ARE emotional creatures rather like us, so I get the attribution. Coins are plant based — mostly roses, so since I adore roses, that is a sweet softening of Coins for me.  Airy Swords mostly feature images of human HANDS; how is that for owning responsibility for our mental actions?  She gives Wands to Fire, not only in elemental attribution, but in much of the imagery.    No suite imagery is absolute, however — you go reading along and there, suddenly is a traditional Cup, or Sword — or marvelous things like the head of a ten point buck deer sporting lights for the ten of Wands!  This is one of the decks I must work with this year; it is beyond the beauty of the Cirque deck and is a very feeling deck.  This is one of the sublime examples, for me!

soulI also have a deck that is not tarot at all.  It is the Soul Cards (I) deck.  Mine was a sample deck being sold off cheaply and is missing one card.  I don’t care.  I use these rarely and I usually don’t do a tarot style spread.  These, for me, are to be read only by the evocative images — I most often select three cards and meditate upon them for quite some time.   I consider these my most therapeutic deck of cards.  Even just holding the deck and looking through it brings you to focus upon how you feel, where your reactions are coming from, and such.  The same card might get a different reaction on different days – and this in itself is revealing, don’t you think?

boxes-of-secretsBut finally?  I DID say I had just gotten what would likely be my last* tarot deck, didn’t I?  That deck is ensconced in the lovely round lidded chest carved with a tree.  That box was my first Yule gift in 15 years from my youngest son, upon his return home in 2014.  It has sat empty since then awaiting the new deck with EIGHT extra cards ever since!  Yes, at long last, The Minoan Tarot Deck (by Laura Perry) is here!  I am studying the book by its designer and finding it, since images are based on a long pre-Christian society in Minoan Crete, FREE of Christian images.

My only gripe thus far is that young male face cards are labeled with things like “I explore” and “I react” and female face cards do things like “I consider” and “I EMOTE” — for pity’s sake?!  Hmmmm?  But I think I am going to like it more than dislike it.  I like that most of the images are from actual historical art.  “What,” you say, “no pictures of the cards?”  Nope.  Not yet.  (Oh, fine – a sneak peak.) I will do this deck in detail beginning next Tuesday.    Then I have the Steampunk Victorian and the Illuminating the Prophecy decks to detail.

What a relief – at least one day of the week to read cards NOT news – to go inward and not outward!  Such a GIFT!  Oh, and that other box with the big “X” carven upon it?  That is where the Soul Cards live, because they ARE a gift of a sort — very hard to find these days and very evocative and clarifying!

*Unless I also wind up with THIS Minoan Tarot.  But that would mean some other deck would have to vacate it’s carved wooden box!  And looking at this deck feels like something “pumped out” — not something meticulously researched and thought through.

Coming Back Soon – Tuesday Tarot

On earlier blogs, I did a Tuesday Tarot post, discussing decks I’d tried and rejected.  Like the deck that had the nifty “eye” back-side, for instance.

I own several decks and just got one as a Valentine’s Day gift (early) that may be the final deck.  It may become the only deck I use for personal readings, it has been long awaited (almost 3 years)!

I am still studying it and will have to scan in the images to use.  But within the month, I will begin discussing my new treasure.

Until then?  Enjoy what others say about tarot — what poets say about it and how it helps them, opening their eyes!

I almost never use my decks for divination; it is more like a psychological “thermometer” for me.

Tuesday, I will discuss the decks I already have, why I have kept them –and which ones may be gifted away at last.

Maybe after that, I will be ready to share what may be, for me, the PERFECT deck! Finding the right cards, for me, is as hard as finding the right counselor!

 

Things to Do Instead of Resolutions – Pragmatic Rituals of Renewal

img_3605I hate New Year’s resolutions. They set one up for failure and self-loathing before the words are even completely out of the mouth. So I stopped doing them – although now and again, I do actually resolve something; it is very rarely on January 1st!  But since it is the end of my ritual year at Samhain and I enter the contemplative, introspective “Fallows” between then and the Solstice celebration?  I do find myself making decisions.  But more often, simply self-notes and reminders.  Very often, the things I do instead of resolutions are simply resumptions of “normal time” activities put off by the holidays.  Some are necessary, but forgettable things that I attach, for memory purposes, to particular dates.  I don’t resolve.  I do.

For instance, although I use less make up than ever?  I clean my make up brushes at least once a month at full or new moon.  It is when several other repetitive tasks are done, so easy to recall.  But once a year, at least, in the week ‘twixt Xmas and New Year’s?  I not only soap and clean my brushes, but throw out scraggly ones and soak ALL of them in hydrogen peroxide to really sanitize them. 

Similarly, although I drink alcohol less and less; I clean out the booze cupboard and give away things I tried, but know I will never drink again.  This habit makes one welcome at New Year’s parties, let me assure you — showing up with bar-reinforcing bottles is never a bad thing.

I look at my bodily condition and resume regular exercise; something that from Samhain thru January barely exists.  Because I know what happens when I do not work my body: my body stops working.  It is not a new resolution, it is a normal resumption.

I make bookmarkers out of my favorite received holiday cards.  This helps me remember those friends all year and saves me money on silly boughten bookmarkers.

I clean out my spice cabinet.  No, this is not a 12″ long wooden rack of small glass jars.  It is a large mahogany hutch mounted on the wall with four shelves full of bottles and jars.  Also a pretty ceramic drawer’d thing full of customized blends.  So, getting rid of old unused spices and making note of what needs to be purchased or mixed is a nice culinary tune up for my year.

I play with my tarot cards – often doing a reading with every deck I own.  Is this divination?  Not so much, for me.  While I do believe people can be prescient, I also think most allegedly “modern” upbringing waxes that right out of us.  I also feel that is not entirely bad — I’ve seen willfully credulous people frighten themselves into paralysis by being terrified by every “sign”; some critical thinking and logic would serve them better.  That said, as a semi-contented little Jungian, I do feel that evocative images on the cards can trigger prescient moments for me. and link me to the collective unconsciousness of humanity.  Moreover, I know when I am too triggered-reactive to pay any attention to the cards; I use the cards mostly as a psychological barometer to find out the state-of-me.  Hitting six decks in six days will tell me where I am, where I might be irrationally going astray and what might better serve me.

I clean the house to within an inch of every dust-bunny’s life!  Why wait until spring?  My house gets a pretty thorough going over about four times per year.  One at the turn of the year is always excellent because it is cold enough the house is shut-up.  Making sure no cereal bowl is moldering ‘neath a bed, nor dog-dragged stolen “treasure” smelling under the desk is a very good thing.  For instance, whatever pale winter sun there is comes through clean windows better.  All those candles through the holidays smell nice, but do cloud windows unless you are burning pure beeswax with natural wicking and no metal cores.

I lovingly un-decorate.  What the hell does that mean, you ask?  Well, I don’t just toss things into bags and boxes.  I take every single thing down, I dust or polish it and put it back where it goes with care – as I do so, I remember when and where that ornament came into my life.  I call back the memories of that year.  I connect the dots of my life with the things I’ve chosen to carry with me by resurrecting the past at this time of Auld Lang Sang.  And yes, sometimes something does not go back in the many boxes and trunks stashed under the platform bed in the den.  Sometimes something pain-evoking goes away, I just let it go.

I plan my candle making for the coming year.  I inventory what I have left and what needs replacement.  Cold winter days are perfect for dipping tapers out in the Hexen Haus.  This year, for example, I plan to try making my own beeswax only tea-lights.  This is honesty, for me.  I use a lot of tea-lights and those convenient, but nasty little petroleum based bastions of window haze need to GO.  I am unlikely to get rid of many candle holders that really work only with the wee tins, so I need better tinned candles.

Who needs a resolution when I have a list of “things I always do”.  Occasionally, I have a smaller list of “things I DON’T do” to reinforce.

 

 

The Romantic Finish

seven-foldThe third day to finish the working against the murderous Boko Haram members savaging Africa — on Valentine’s Day.  So under the felted heart garland on the hearth altar, sweet spring scented candles aflame in an old aebelskiver pan.  After “war” the goal is peace, right?

Thus altars round the house had candles oiled for healing, for recovery – and set alight.  My sodden, muddy work clothes, a far cry from fancy ritual dress in pagan books, were washed and dried.  A good meal “khara pasanda” was cooked with light puffy  dry roasted chapatis breads: Indian food always says love to me.  We married in Berlin and our first apartment had a Sikh landlord; I learned to cook Indian food from his wife.  So, thinking of healing love, we ate tender lamb cooked in a creamy cardamom yogurt sauce scooped up in soft,warm buttered flatbreads.  The food of once-upon-a-time Moghul emperors to mark the end of magical battle:  cultural co-existence is not impossible; but murderous religious frenzy cannot be allowed.

I finished up with post-action divination, asking my tarot cards whether Boko Haram would be negatively affected by the magical action.  The answer was yes, with a caveat of it taking some time.  So now to wait in local peace and hope for the same afar.

February is not a warring month here normally.  It is the month of Valentines for most of the world.  Here it is the world of our modified Lupercalia in mid-February, when a fire is lit to farewell the winter.  We eat cookies stamped with a wolf’s head and hail the spring to come.  It is the month of my wedding anniversary and the birthday of my eldest child.  All most of us want is a secure home life, some love in our life (even in Boko Haram’s stomping grounds), children round the table to share a meal and laughter — that is the goal, of the mundane life and the magical one.