Notes Upon The Journey: January 31st 2023

1/31/2023 Tuesday Day of The Moon
12:15am Hour of
Mars cusping towards Hour of TheSun
Waxing Gibbous Moon

Friends,

After a warm day the night air is still and just beginning to cool. The clouds in the sky are moving either to the West or the North depending on how high they are, pushed and pulled by unseen forces of Water and Wind. After a long day at work I have indulged myself and thanks to a delivery App I will have a late meal of Pad Thai and Gyoza and Kani Rolls. I have also discovered that rarest of all creatures an Asian restaurant that is open all night! This is a particularly valuable discovery here in Orlando, which in some ways is still the collision of the sleepy Southern towns that dotted the area in the era Before Walt.

Early last week I had a quiet moment and felt the urge to do a Tarot card draw. I ended up pulling the 8 of Cups. Appropriately enough as, after 13 years with one Motel company and 14 years with the same Motel brand, I have accepted a new Hospitality job with a new company and turned in my two weeks notice with the motel I’ve been at the last few years. The overall vibe I got from the card pull and my various readings on the card meanings, was a fairly literal “set aside shiny shit for now to focus on this new thing”

So instead of beginning an intensive period of writing, reading, Witchcraft, and Social Media content creation; I mostly went back to lurking. I took a breath and accepted that I needed to lean into a transitional phase, to ground myself in my new reality and to chill for a bit. I have been alternating between working my final two weeks at the old motel, with a meeting and training at the new motel, and even have squeezed in a day off.

*Rereads the above paragraph* Apparently chilling is a relative term?! I suppose its that I am feeling incredibly reenergized and deeply hopeful about the future? Whatever it is… this seeming flurry of activity had felt vaguely like a vacation. I’ve focused on things that serve my goals moving forward. Including not only having a job that lets me grow and learn and develop in new ways, and both pays the bills and effectively reduces them by returning to employer based insurance rather that the expense involved in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

I got myself a new Journal, a leather cover and a snap closure and a trade paperback size all marks in its favor as I wished to begin this new year with a new focus on discernment, and introspection, and daily…. somethings… involving my writing and inner work and my Craft. Now, I do not have a lot of confidence in my ability to draw. Since I am working on my sigil game, I am beginning to work on that but it is early days yet on my drawing skills and sigil Witchery. So when I decided to begin a new diary and journal and wished to incorporate Laura Tempest Zackroff’s 2023 Sigil for the Year I was at a bit of a loss until I decided that Office Supply Magick is, after all, still Magick!

So blending together some computer printouts of Ms Zakroff’s 2023 Sigil and some of her process notes, scotch tape, some whispered blessings and prayers, and boatloads of hope and intent and will, I am beginning both metaphorical and literally new chapters in 2023!

Photograph: A Blank Journal pictured from above, the flyleaf to the left and the first lined page to the right, in the lower left hand corner of the image a thumb and forefingers can be seen holding the book open.  A paper with an intricate interconnected line picture of Star and Circles and Lines with Dots and an Eye and a simple snake image at the bottom of the image is taped to the flyleaf.  On the facing first lined page, another paper is also taped to this page in Pax’s rough handwriting “Begun 2020 1/25/23” is above the paper and “Bliss & Blessed Be!” is below; the paper has a number of words for hopes for the year and simple doodles of practice images.  Both papers are covered in overlapping streams of clear tape.

Speaking of my sigil game, and also feeling like a victory… In late November I had crafted an Employment related sigil around the simple phrase “I am Employed”, with a bunch of intent and thought about what I wanted out of being employed. I had it in mind to do some spellwork around my job hunt, but between the Holidays and New Years and some personal financial business things got a little hectic. I hadn’t done anything formal around it other that figure out my process for it and move forward with it, and craft a sigil I was happy with and ready to add to a Sigil vocabulary I am trying to build.

About a week later I got a call from a manager I had not worked with in about 5 years, inviting me to join the team at their, and now my, new motel. Needless to say this has also boosted my confidence, and I already have a few phrases outlined to do some more sigil work around!

So, New Year, New Job, and New Journal. All in time for Imbolc. With everything else that has been happening I haven’t had a lot of time to think about what to do for Imbolc. Truth be told, it’s rarely if ever been a Sabbat I had a strong relationship with, beginning my craft in the subarctic and now continuing it in the subtropics, neither climate really vibes with the first stirrings of spring and life spiel that one finds in most Wheel of The Year related materials… I’ve always had more of a relationship with it as a Return of The Light… although it’s associations with New Beginnings and First Stirrings ….actually that may be on the right track. I may have to do some reading up on Brigid and Imbolc…

Whatever I decide, it is now around 2 something am and I need to get some sleep. I will see you all on the flip side!

Bliss & Blessed Be,
Pax / Geoffrey

PS- once I have actually had some sleep, I will be adding some Sigil Magick resources below…

Dear Reader, after a delightful night of deep Asian food binge induced slumber, I have decided to write out the Sigil resources and some notes and thoughts on Sigil work as a separate post, here…. (pending link as your author falls down a bit of a research rabbit hole)

The Crossroads Spread

(or A Witching Hour Misadventure)

Friends,

I have come up with a new, or at least new to me, Tarot card spread that I think I will be keeping in my repertoire going forward. Here’s how it happened, now if you want to skip ahead to the spread I’ve centered an underlined the name below with the technique following, if you want the background info and my usual musings read on…

So, in part because I have a natural tendency towards insomnia and in part because I work an odd Hospitality industry schedule where sometimes I am overnight and sometimes afternoon, my sleep schedule is a creature of chaos. The other morning I was off for the day after an overnight shift. I stayed up late doing some chores, feeling a bit like a vampire on a day pass, and went to bed around 1 or 2pm. I was expecting to be up around 6 or 7 as getting 6 hours at best has been my pattern lately. I woke up a couple of times for stumbles to the bathroom or kitchen in the night only to tumble back into bed rather eagerly. The heavy and fuzzy bedspreads are my people now, they understand and accept me as on of their own!

I finally awoke around 2 something a.m. and was sipping some coffee and scrolling my socials when I felt the urge to pick up my Tarot cards. I haven’t been pulling cards or doing any spreads regularly for a while now, and after recent efforts to rebuild that practice ended up resulting in repeated reversed card draws and readings, and perhaps a bit of Tarot induced trauma, that’s natural enough.

As I shuffled the deck I tried to let go of any hang ups or fears about drawing a reversed cards and approached the process with a focus on the questions and an air of ‘it is what it is’ as possible. I pulled a card, then after spending some time with interpretation and meditating upon the card and what it could be referring too, I pulled 4 more. I contemplated their meanings, consulted some of my reference materials, and wrote some notes. I also thought for a bit about the process itself and wrote a few notes about that as well.

It was as I was writing my notes that I realized I had done most of this work around 3am, often cited in folklore as The Witching Hour, during the Hour of the Moon on the Day of Saturn. This felt worthy of noting and doing a little reference work review seemed in order so I did that as well.

After that, I did a very early morning run to one of the corner store for snacks and nicotine and went back to bed for a couple more hours around 6am or so…

The Crossroads Spread

A Tarot Card layout/experimentation.

A 5 card pull to use when you feel the need for direction or advice but are not sure what is bothering you, or why you are feeling adrift.

Shuffle the deck as you will.  As you are shuffling focus on the questions of what do I need to know, what do I need to focus on, what do I need to be more aware of. These and similar general and topic unspecific questions need to be the focus of your thoughts as you shuffle. Introspection, Learning, and growth are the goals of this exercise; especially of what we do not know we know or what we need to know.

When you are ready, pull the first card and set it down.

1st Card: is the basic answer or issue.  Spend some time with this card in contemplation of its meanings and what in your life it could be referring to.  Pay attention not only to the meanings that seem clear to you in the moment, but also spend a bit of time exploring the full set of possible meanings for any that you shy away from at first. Is there anything there that you may be deceiving yourself on or pushing away on some level as something you do not want to deal with? Once you feel comfortable that you have identified the key answer to the first card you can begin the next step.

Cards 2 thru 5 are pulled and layed down, one on each side and one above and below the 1st card, in whatever order as makes sense to you either in the moment or based on the lore and symbolism you work with. It is important to remember that unlike some reading layouts the position of the cards these cards around the first do not have a specific meaning or relationship to the first card.  This layout is one for contemplation and introspection whenever you find yourself at a metaphorical crossroads.

Cards 2 thru 5 can represent a few different things.  They could represent factors contributing to or complicating the current question or issue.  They could provide deeper background on the issues you are wrestling with at the moment.  They could present possible pathways or approaches you could choose from to deal with the current situation. This is an exercise in discernment and self-discovery so feel free to spend some time with the reading and any note taking you do related to the reading.

crafted at the witching hour during the hour of the moon and the day of Saturn January 15th 2023

If you decide to try this variation let me know how it works for you? Are there any spreads or techniques you’ve developed in your own practice seeking similar information? If Tarot is not your thing do you use any other oracular techniques in your practice? Let me know in the comments!

Bliss and Blessed Be,
Pax / Geoffrey

Notes Upon The Journey: January 11th 2023

1/11/2023 Wednesday the day of the Mercury
10:06 am Hour of Jupiter
Waning Gibbous Moon

Friends,

After a few days of very disrupted sleep patterns I had slept for several hours yesterday, to awaken around 11pm, I was up for a couple of hours and indulged myself with some delightfully spicy Penang Curry delivery and then listened to my body and went back to bed for a few more hours before awakening in the predawn hours. I’ve sipped a great deal of coffee, watched some youtube, injected some social into my social media over on Mastodon with a couple of brief conversations, skimmed current events thanks to NPR and Reuters, and struggled to write something until it occurred to me to take a few moments to focus on my breath, ground and center, switch to drinking water and to eat something.

It may be time to add a few notes to my Notes To Self notebook about self-care? One must remember to balance the feeding of body and mind and spirit after all. I started this notebook in the aftermath of my hospitalization back in 2020 as a way of working through some mental fog and depression, sort of an amateurs’ version of Cognitive Behavior Therapy I suppose.

Some of my early morning readings today included a timely article on 6 Herbs for Lung Support, a bit on social media about how the Queens NY Public Library now allows anyone anywhere to become e-card holder and gain access to their entire digital collection, and a gofundme fundraiser for a Pagan and Witch Elder needing a little assistance. NPR served up a piece on how one can reduce food waste, this article left me with a lot to think about … for me also highlighted the importance of charities like Feeding America, and I hadn’t even heard about the Nationwide Flight Shut down in the U.S. until Reuters mentioned it!

I’ve also been able to give some thought to my writings and workings for the coming year with a view towards of trying to carry forward the theme of Light persisting.

For the moment though, I need to go get cleaned up and take care of a few things around the house.

What new projects or ideas or influences have you found for yourself at the dawning of a New Year?

Bliss and Blessed Be,
Pax / Geoffrey

The Opening of the Year 2023: Standing at the Crossroads during Tower Times

Friends,

Happy New Years and hello again!

Lately I’ve been lurking in my socials, reading posts and various shared articles, bookmarking interesting things I might like to share or write about, giving myself some time to rest and renew at the closing of one year and the dawning of the next. I’ve also been trying to contemplate or discern the deeper meaning of the phrase “The Light Persists”, which as you may remember came to me in a period of dark despair and doom-filled thinking when I was profoundly moved by this news item about the lighting of the Posner family menorah in the window of the home of the President of Germany.

I’ve also spent some time processing and engaging in some discernment around my most recent bought of Depression. Engaging in the same work around the many persona, and professional, and cultural and societal and emotional ups and downs in my life in 2022, and over the last few years.

The seemingly massive and widespread resurgence of outright racism, homophobia, anti-science, anti-vax, conspiracy cults, and fascism. The Pandemic and lockdowns, deaths on a massive scale, and that in so many cases they seem to be waved off as unimportant or unworthy of note. The continuing nature of the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the natural uptick in viruses and illnesses floating about as large portions of society have reopened within the last couple of years after masking and social distancing have prematurely ended. Fear and anger, grief and shock.

We find ourselves in a time of trials. A time where the forces of hatred and intolerance and tyranny seem to have conspired with the forces of a changing climate and nature itself in an ongoing onslaught against all hope and stability and decency. A time of individual and communal and collective trauma. Tower Time as writer, Witch, and Pagan Elder Byron Ballard has been calling it for years in her writings and work. Among other things Ms. Ballard is a Tarot card reader, and in calling the times of change and upheaval we are going through right now Tower Times she is referencing the 16th Card of the Major Arcana of a standard Tarot deck, which like a lot of the cards with intense and intimidating imagery is not as doom filled an omen as it might first appear.

Ms Ballard works extensively with the Tarot. As a writer here, I work regularly with the metaphors of the transformational process and of the journey. Increasingly in my process as both a Witch and writer I have been working more and more with the metaphor and powers of The Crossroads. I have long been a proponent of the idea that part of taking up the mantle and practice of Witchcraft is to accept responsibility for one choices. A Witch chooses their actions, and reactions. Ideally this is done carefully and with a willingness to own ones actions and accept ones consequences, to pay the coin as some traditional Crafters will say.

I have also worked with and written, imperfectly, about the concept of the Acrostic Eye. The phenomena where as one learns and develops as a Witch, learning the lore and techniques and symbolisms of Magick and engaging in the practice of it, one begins to view the world around oneself and its events differently.

The lessons of The Crossroads and The Acrostic Eye are that there are seldom if ever simple truths or easy answers. Truth is complex and honest answers are complicated.

I believe that this year, and over the next few that follow we are all standing at a crossroads, the intersection of the times and tides of History and Culture and Technology. The choices we make and the actions we take, individually and collectively, in the next few years will help determine the survival and potential for humanity going forward. I have been reminded, indeed to one degree or another all who observe and celebrate the Solstice-tide and Yule have been reminded, that even in the longest nights and in times of turmoil filled with all the evils that humanity can perform, the light persists!

At this Crossroads with these Tower Times let us choose to join together. Let each of us rekindle the fires of Will and hope and hospitality and compassion and community and justice within ourselves and within this still Holy World. Let us serve as beacons for others who are lost and fearful and believing themselves alone and without hope. Let all of us living through such times, the people of conscience and courage and many faiths, come together to bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice once more. We have done so before and we can do so again.

May each of us be a part of the light that persists.

Bliss and Blessed Be,
So Mote it Be,
Pax / Geoffrey

The Light Persists: Musings at the Winter Solstice 2022

Friends,

I have a sometimes complicated relationship with the Winter Solstice. In part as a legacy of growing up in the subarctic, I have a tendency towards a semi-annual Seasonal Depression. Being aware of that fact I have certain coping mechanisms I deploy, including trying to make sure I have links to a few key songs that have helped stir me out of my mood either by a degree of wallowing in it or by distracting me from it. Nothing was helping this year.

The last few years have been difficult for me and my family. My Partner was the victim of an assault and in a medical coma in 2019, I nearly died in 2020 from congestive heart failure, my partner had a stroke in 2021, and this year’s autumn saw a number of setbacks in particular as the place I work was sold to new owners, who do not provide insurance, and who have cut hours. I was also sick in bed for a few days a couple of week-ends ago, I am still recovering. I’ve been at a point of mental and physical and spiritual exhaustion, not even able to find solace in my writing or in conversations with friends.

A good conversation with a friend, even if it has nothing to do with what is bothering me, will often help me to recharge and reexamine things in a new light.

Light.

The metaphor we all work and wrestle with this time of year. It can be terribly difficult to kindle or rekindle within ourselves sometimes. Especially when it seem so much or our world is sinking into darkness and deplorable behavior and driving us to despair. The rises in Homophobia, Anti-Semitism, Racism, Economic Injustice, anti-Science, anti-History, Conspiracy culture, Fascism and Oligarchy over the last several years have each been onslaughts on their own and collectively building upon one another. In response to these I have often tried to remember the words of one of my Honored & Beloved Dead, Harvey Milk who reminded us “You’ve got to give them hope!” Other times I have held on to that refrain from Dylan Thomas “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Nothing seemed to be helping me this year. It was all seeming… so. very. much.

Then I came across a story in the news. Members of the Posner family, grandchildren of Rachel Posner the Rabi’s wife who took the now famous photo of a menorah in their windowsill with the flags of Nazi Germany flying on the streets at Hanukah in 1931, had been invited to light their menorah in a windowsill in the home of the President of Germany for Hanukah 5782 (2022). Now some may find it strange that a Gentile may be so touched and so moved and so inspired by this story. It is possible that they need to work on their capacities for compassion, decency, and empathy.

I found myself crying. The sheets of ice and inertia and misery in me cracking and beginning to melt away as if at the return of Spring. A phrase rang out within my head and heart…

The Light Persists.

The. Light. Persists. Even when we cannot see it. Even when we are unable to find it within ourselves. Even when everything in our lives and the world around us seem against it. The Light Persists.

I was forcibly reminded of the liminality of Yuletide. Winter Solstice is a crossroads that we are brought to again and again, year after year. Each time we come upon it in our life’s journey we are given a profound and special gift. The gift of choosing. Choosing to lean into the light. The gift of *choosing* joy. We are given the chance to make our highest ideals and the values of our ancestors manifest. We can share in the blessings of and share our blessings with families of blood and/or choice, with our communities, with those less fortunate, with friends and strangers alike. We can embody and invoke and evoke generosity, hospitality, kindness, compassion. We can elevate stories of joy and knowledge and family. We can choose to be the persistence of light.

May each of you have a very blessed Yuletide.

Bliss and Blessed Be,
Pax / Geoffrey

People of The Library: Hekate Limnal Rites by Sorita d’Este & David Rankine

First published in 2009, This is an invaluable addition to the library of anyone engaging in a relationship or a working with this popular and often misunderstood or misinterpreted Goddess.  This reference style work reads more like an academic survey of a topic rather than an occult manual.  Being something of an off-again on-again history and research geek I don’t mind this a bit, although I must admit that I went into this book somehow expecting more of a ritual guide and presentation of lore and ritual.  It was not what I expected, but I have repeatedly returned to this book as a resource in my own relationship with The Queen of The Earth, Sky, and Sea.

As someone with a strong mytho-poetic streak I do wish they had included some translations of more of the ancient texts and hymns although the extensive bibliography gives one a wealth of resources along those lines.  The entire book and its structure, including the early chapter detailing the ancient primary sources surveyed and being cited, encourages the reader towards resources for deeper learning and understandings of this Goddess and her mysteries.  I am looking forward to getting my hands on more of their works regarding Hekate.

Coffee and Current Events

Hello Friends,

So it started, as things have lately, over on Mastodon, which I am enjoying immensely. I also bopped over to Discord for a bit, but things are relatively quiet this morning in my groups there so I left a couple of responses and bopped back out. I have spent my time waking up and sipping coffee and reading some news and information pieces of my choosing and contemplating the world.

It can be so very easy to become overwhelmed by things, I find, unless we are careful in HOW we consume the news and from where. I have more than a few ideas and theories about this but that is a rant for another day. Today is about sipping some coffee and exploring before I pull myself together to try and get some things done before work.

The first domino in today’s scrolling was a link to this article over on CrimethInc about the Boobs not Bombs initiative, a group of activists creating homemade Estrogen HRT for private distribution. This lead to some rummaging around the Internet to a few different sites and resources that I’ve bookmarked for a deep-dive into later, including this link about Mutual Aid. From here I bopped over to NPR and this article about recent changes to the gun laws in Oregon and concerns from LGBTQIA activists that the new laws vague wording and giving local Sherriff’s and Police Chief’s to determine who qualifies for fire arms permits. I also updated myself on a story I had listened to earlier today on my way home from the overnight shift, about the current and massive Covid surge in China.

From there I checked up on Reuters news service, who I find do a good job of unbiased reporting. This story about a recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives sending a bill for an Independence Vote for Puerto Rico to Congress caught my eye, because Central Florida where I live has such a large Puerto Rican population. I then noticed this story about how Russian manufacturers have apparently been able to skirt a U.S. embargo to get high-tech computer parts from U.S. manufacturers to construct drones for their War on Ukraine. I also noticed this story about President Biden blacklisting certain Chinese micro-chip manufacturers.

News, knowledge, and information, are what we make of them. They can overwhelm us into retreat, or inspire us into thought and action. I am currently choosing thought, and some judicious sharing in the hopes of starting conversations.

What recent news stories have been catching your eye and stirring your thoughts?

Bliss and Blessed Be,
Pax / Geoffrey

Note Upon the Journey: December 12th 2022

Notes Upon The Journey
12/12/2022 Monday Day of the Sun
2:16am Hour of Jupiter
Waxing Gibbous Moon

Friends,

As mentioned, I have been very sick the last few days. Mostly sleeping, only one day of seemingly endless coughing and sniffling and occasional sneezing. I can’t find the thermometer so haven’t taken my temperature but the way I find myself sweating with a little too much exertion or drinking black and herbal teas tells me I am likely running a low fever that wants to break soon.

The weather outside is cool and still, The night is mostly quiet,, the far of rustle of traffic sounding like a running river in the night.

Despite recently writing about Language as a tool of magick, and on the metaphor of language itself as a tool of being in the world and in right relationship with it, I forgot to listen to myself, to my body. Much was going on at work and much needs doing at home, I have fallen once more into the old familiar bad habit manta of “Nicotine, Caffeine, and Stress, Oh My!”

Now was it entirely not taking care of myself? No, others at work called out recently and at least one co-worker ended up in hospital; it is time to mask up again and to hunker down. I have not looked at hospitalizations and numbers in my area, but with a return to Winter I am sure the numbers are far from what they should be.

Time to engage in the centuries old rituals of turning inwards at the turning of the year. To take time for tea, and needed preparations for the coming year. To remember to listen to body and soul as well as the subtle speech of the world around me.

It is a lesson I keep having to return to.

So having read online to still my mind as I sipped my tea and refilled my waters and prepared for bed, I am hoping to sign off, but I wonder…

Does anyone else have certain life lessons that return to them again and again, and you say “Aha! Now, I have learned…” until the next time?

Bliss & Blessed Be,
Pax/Geoffrey

Notes Upon the Journey: December 5th 2022

12/5/2022 Monday the day of the Moon
7:56pm Hour of the Moon
Waxing Gibbous Moon

Friends,

I am doing much better. In retrospect I was rather optimistic that I was done processing all the stuff raised for me by the news of the Club Q shooting. I was done with the worst of it, I guess?

One of the things that helped was pulling back and into other focuses for my mind, working on a collection of essays & poems that I will be trying to get published next year, doing some real world stuff to get my finances back in order. I have also been trying to re-evaluate how I am engaging in digital citizenship and communication with others online and off. I am trying to be more open and genuine and to a degree more vulnerable in my interactions with others.

Obviously, there’s some risk involved in that, and I did end up blocking someone in one of my social media streams for only the second time ever, but I believe that sometimes by risking we can find great reward.

An example of this comes from a conversation I had with a new online friend Cooper.(@witchkingcooper on Twittter), he’s an interesting and creative guy with some very interesting projects going on around media and magick.

Cooper tweeted:
“It must be so comforting to believing in a Guiding Force to the universe that tends toward good.”

Pax responded:
“On it’s own? Oh F no! Bending the arc of the universe towards the good is work. Work in body, work in & with spirit, & work in society; in ways as great or as small as we can manage, individually & collectively, day in & day out.”

Cooper:
“Exactly! I’m struggling to give an answer to “why practice magic?” that isn’t “it’s possible to make the world better by changing it.””

Pax:
“When one engages fully & sincerely in the practices of magic, one is forced to learn about oneself. Our best, & our worst. As we learn about ourselves, we are developing our intuition and instincts, we learn to see & interact with the world differently, more effectively. 1/?”

“It is not just about self knowledge, or self improvement; it changes how we carry ourselves, it changes how we interact with others & the world around us.
It opens our eyes to new possibilities & ideas. 2/?”

“To paraphrase a very wise author; humans need magic to be human, to be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape. The fact that it also appears to have affects on the world around us, all so often for the better, is the merest of side effects of the journey. 3/3”

December 2022 exchange on Twitter

Now I blog and write and have done so for many years, on and off. I have some confidence in my ability to string words together, although Gods know I sometimes get ridiculously wordy and convoluted… but at the same time that is how my mind works and I do take a delight in the complexity and poetic possibilities of the language. I would rarely call myself eloquent or inspired, but in this one tiny conversation, I am rather proud of what I wrote.

At the same time as a result of this little conversation, I find myself realizing that some of my best work has been the result of conversations and dialogue with others. This can be tricky and dangerous in our digital world where take downs and out of context quotes and a lot of shady behavior is the new normal.

At the same time though? I am remembering that growth doesn’t come without complexity and risk and messiness. You’d think someone whose built a portion of their spiritual and life path around metaphors of the Journey and of Chrysalis would remember that.

Anyhow, look for me to be speaking up here and there a little more often, and let me know if there are any lessons you keep having to learn and re-learn in the same way I am in the comments here.

Bliss & Blessed Be,
Pax/Geoffrey

Colorado Springs & Club Q


Why? Why must it be? Why must it always be that the first name, the first face we see, is the one who has committed the atrocity?

Just once can we mourn the dead, pray for the injured, praise the heroes and give succor to the survivors before we turn our attention to their murderer, their foe, their victimizer?

Hail to the fallen and hail and healing to those left behind.

“Why: (c) Geoffrey Stewart 2022

Friends,

By now you have heard, we have all heard of the events at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado just before Midnight November 19th. 5 people dead as of this writing, 25 injured. The ‘suspect’ was subdued within minutes by heroic club patrons and beaten with his own gun, apprehended by police a few minutes after midnight in the first hour of November 20th 2022 the Trans Day of Remembrance. This is not the first time in my 50 years that I have woken up to learn of some atrocity committed against LGBTQ people, my people; sadly, it is not likely to be the last.

As much as I might wish it otherwise. Holy Dead, Holy Spirits, Holy Gods do I wish it were the last.

I have spent most of the last 36 hours, compressed in between intermittent sleep and a work shift where I was at least physically present, scrolling social media & sharing links to news articles and sharing other folks posts and takes. Unable to find my own words, not really entirely ready process things. Fear, anger, outrage, grief, rage at the insincerity and hypocrisy of those who have stoked the fires of Homophobia and Transphobia and Conspiracy Theories and Hot Takes; those same people who have fanned the flames of the Culture War for their own financial and political benefit suddenly offering up their “shock” and of course their “thoughts and prayers.”

You would think after 4 of my 5 decades of waking up to similar stories and similar atrocities, and similarly insincere “thoughts and prayers” from the same basic cast of characters; you’d think I would be better prepared to deal with the horror of it all. I mean hell, I grew up as a Queer kid in 1980’s Reagan America in the shadow of the specters of nuclear war and the HIV/AIDS crisis in a world where Rightwing politicians and thought leaders and Religious Fundamentalists were very clear (without, of course actually coming out and saying so) that it was perfectly fine if people like me died of a horrific wasting disease or were murdered in the streets, as long as the right kind of people were dying, people like me. You would think after years of such things one would get a thick emotional skin or be inoculated against the horror of it all.

Honestly, sometimes… kind of? Sometimes it just hits like a numbness and a muted sense of grief or something. Sometimes you are able to move on, muted, but reasonably functional.

Sometimes though, it hits you full force; bringing not only its own horrors but dragging horror and grief and insecurities hidden away in the corners of your mind and soul, all of them dancing within you and around you. Sometimes you just have to process the horror of it all in whatever way you can for a time before something kicks in and you start pulling yourself back together.

36 hours is NOT that bad a turnaround time, I guess, all things considered.

Bliss and Blessed Be your journey,

Pax / Geoffrey

When Tarot Cards Attack!

Friends,

So roughly a week ago I was relaxing before work I was checking out my podcasts and decided to check out something from Down at The Crossroads.  My app, or my phone, in their finite wisdom decided that their interview with Mat Auryn was just the thing and it started to play.  My phone or app do that occasionally, opening up a song or episode at random, and I decided to roll with it.  That night, when I returned home, I found some sort of cardstock business card / flyer thing tucked in between the door and the doorjamb.  It’s in Spanish but appears to be an advertisement for a spiritual counselor or psychic reader of some sort and if my imperfect command of Spanish is serving me well, she has a 100% guarantee of some sort and the first consultation is free!

Never one to waste a good synchronicity, I pulled out my Tarot cards and started reading.  Now it has been a while since I had worked with my cards as a LOT has been going on in other parts of my life, this may be important to our story in a few moments.  Anyway, I was feeling psychically frisky so I decided to do a Celtic Cross layout.  I tend to not do self-readings with a specific question in mind, other perhaps than, “What do I need to know?”.  I will also usually pull out my ID/Driver’s License, or if reading for another ask them to, to use as the significator; an idea I came up with in the early days of my work with Tarot cards because I felt it was important to have every card of the deck available for readings, and there is a certain argument that we have a much more intense personal and energetic relationship with our ID/Driver’s License than a particular Court card.

Some of your may be wondering how I think Tarot cards work?  Do they have some sort of spirits to them that are your allies and give you information you couldn’t normally have access to?  Do they somehow trigger or activate your own psychic abilities or intuition?  Is it all psychological?  My answer to all those questions is some variation of Yes and it depends on what day you ask me.

So I shuffled the cards several times.  I remember thinking that I wanted to make sure to mix upright and reversed cards for some reason, maybe my intuition was already kicking into gear at that point?  Or perhaps the Universe and my deck have warped senses of humor to rival my own…

Here is what I pulled…

Photograph of 10 Tarot cards, colorful deck of cards with pictures of symbolic paintings used for divination, laid out in a Celtic Cross layout against a dark wooden table top.  The cards are...

1)	Judgement (Reversed) 
2)	The Moon
3)	10 of Wands (Reversed)
4)	5 of Pentacles (Reversed)
5)	6 of Cups (Reversed)
6)	Ace of Cups (Reversed)
7)	Ace of Wands (Reversed)
8)	King of Cups (Reversed)
9)	6 of Pentacles (Reversed)
10)	Knight of Pentacles (Reversed)

No, that picture is not upside down.  I managed to get a layout of 9 out of the 10 cards reversed, and the only reason I didn’t get all 10 reversed is because the 2nd card in the pull is always read upright!  Now I know, I know, I KNOW that a reversed meaning is not necessarily a negative message, or an omen of doom and a lot depends on the question and the placement of the card and the relationship between their meanings and positional interpretations.  I will however admit to having had a minor melt-down at this point.

I tried to remind myself that the Tarot has many uses and like many divinatory systems it is not necessarily about predicting The Future™ so much as about getting a bigger picture on current events and trends; that’s part of why you consult an oracular system, to get a better understanding of what is going on and what you might need to do about it.  I also tried to remind myself that of the many forms of divination used out there, Tarot cards have a reputation for this sort of behavior.  They are like that friend who will hold your earrings for you if you’re in a fight but will not hesitate to turn around and read you to FILTH for getting yourself into such a situation.

In the days since, I have been reshuffling and sorting through my cards, rebuilding my relationship with them and with my own intuitive abilities.  I have done a few 1 card pulls for contemplation, all reversed cards so far, from 2 different decks.  I have been rereading on the meanings of the above reading and my 1 card pulls with a variety of resources.  I have also been dealing with some difficult truths about my life and situation right now.  Money is tight, bills need paying, everybody’s hours at work were cut, and I have a lot of worry and stress right now and a LOT of things that need to be done to get my life and home back in order.

A whole lot of introspection, contemplation, and some journaling has come out of this.  Which is certainly a good thing and something I needed to get back to doing as a part of my journey. This is one of the more important ways we can use divinatory systems, not to predict a future-set-in-stone, but to get a snapshot view of current events and trends; and then we have to do the work of seeking to understand our situation and what we can do about it.

I have been able to set aside feelings of being overwhelmed and helpless with some sound strategies and ideas of how and where to make progress on all these things.  Now comes the effort and the waiting, because I didn’t get into this situation in a day and getting out of it will also take some time.

Let me know about any of your misadventures with Tarot cards, or other divination systems, or any questions or thoughts, in the comments below?

Bliss and Blessed Be,

Pax/Geoffrey

____________

PS- here is a list of the Tarot resources I am working with…

1. Complete Guide To The Tarot by Eden Gray
2. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack
3. Labyrinthos App
4. Galaxy Tarot App (from Google Play)
5. Numerous internet searches…

Notes Upon the Journey: November 12th 2022

11/12/2022 Saturday the day of Venus cusping towards The Day of Saturn
4:36am The Hour of Mercury cusping towards The Hour of The Moon
Waning Gibbous Moon


Friends,

Over the last couple of days as Tropical Storm Nicole has left Orlando and headed elsewhere, I have found myself inspired by my last post into paying more attention to the signs in the weather around me and what it can tell me. Framing it not merely as the observation and interpretation of natural phenomena, but as an act of listening to what I am thinking of as The Hidden Language. I am, at best, an imperfect animist yet at the same time something about this process of metaphorical active listening has been a blessing and a bit of a revelation.

The first night after the storm for example the clouds were swiftly sailing across the sky, the breezes playing amongst the branches were gentle, rustling, murmuring to themselves as they sought to catch up with Nicole. The Waning Gibbous moon was at times obscured by a veil of clouds. A few stars and planets could be seen in the sky through the lights of The City Beautiful. The temperature felt cooler, properly autumnal.

The second night has seen clearer skies with wisps of clouds now sailing more leisurely Northwards. Cooler temperatures and the merest hints of breezes.

On the physical level the Storms passing was pulling humidity and air pressure in it’s wake as it dropped its rain and blew its winds elsewhere, traveling North and then Northeast. The air cooled down as the humidity flowed Northward. On the spiritual level, a sense of calm as if taking a deep relaxing breath after a time of stress. A sense of changes and processes in motion. Tough times will pass, new blessings and challenges upon the horizon.

I find myself contemplating past times where this practice of actively listening to the world was either second nature, or was much needed.

I find myself thinking about how in my late teens and twenties this sort of active engagement and active listening to the world around me, to the worlds hidden language, was much more a matter of course for me. Growing up in a less developed urban environment so much closer to the wilderness in what was at the time an eminently walkable city… I was in a much more active relationship with nature and the worlds around me than I have been in, on a regular basis at least, for too many years.

Some of this comes from having moved from a largish town into a big city. From a very walkable and easy to get around, and out into nature, environment; into a huge metro area where one has to have a car to get by and walking/biking places is either not an option or profoundly convoluted and time consuming. Some of this also comes from a period of years where I struggled when I first moved here to find my place, to find friends, to find a stable job. Then too there was a period of years where the majority of my time and energy went into a job that I had mistaken for a career or calling. As I have written before, I told myself that I could jump back into my Craft and my writing in that ever elusive ‘later’.

I am picking up so many pieces of my Self, and my Craft, and my creativity and inspiration that I had set by the side of the road to come back and pick up later like in a fairy tale where someone lost in the woods leaves behind breadcrumbs or ribbons only to find they have disappeared when they try to backtrack. At the same time, I feel as if I can see light through the trees, signs of either the old path I was on or perhaps some new path to safety and selfhood.

What obstacles or detours or side quests have you run into in your own journeys? Let me know in the comments, and as always…

Bliss and Blessed Be,
Pax / Geoffrey

Some Thoughts on Language as a Tool of Art

“Hear Now the words of the witches,
The secrets we hid in the night,
When dark was our destiny’s pathway,
That now we bring forth into light.”

­~The Witches Creed © Doreen Valiente 1978 in Witchcraft for Tomorrow

Friends,

The recent upheavals in the Twitterverse, and my own recent explorations on Mastodon, have me thinking once again about the importance of language…

In Magick we weave together our own Will and actions and symbols together in specific ways to affect change within ourselves and the world around us.  Sometimes in our Work we are calling upon the assistance or participation of various Ancestors, Spirits, or Gods; sometimes Magick and ritual are framed as ways of being in a direct communication with the universe itself.  How are we communicating with Them?  How are we communicating with one another or the universe around us to work our Wills and desires into reality?

As children, one of the first tools, the first symbols we learn to wield to affect change in our condition and to affect changes upon the world around us in seemingly mundane and practical ways, are our words.  The language that others use around us and towards us, the words, and thoughts we use to describe ourselves and our condition, all of these can have powerful and lasting and life changing consequences.  Entire branches of psychology and so many battles in the public spheres of politics and society revolve around language, around words, the words we say or are forbidden from saying.

Isn’t it surprising then that we do not see more discussions about the use and power of language and words in our magickal work and lives?  One will often see suggestions of books for beginners, but you never see a dictionary, or a particular style manual listed.  Where are the recommendations of poetry and prose?

I believe it is important to ask ourselves as practitioners what poetry and prose, as the saying goes, speaks to us?  What moves us?  What wording or style of language stirs our heart and mind and touches our soul?  Are we moved by a particular writers work because their ideas or baseline assumptions of how the world works or should work agree with our own, or is there something about the way they are stringing words and phrases and ideas together that touches the deepest part of our minds and souls where Magick stirs?

We should also explore the idea of language in the more metaphorical sense of visual language.  People will dismiss other practitioners as being ‘only in it for the aesthetic’, without sparing a moment of thought for the intense power and subtle influences that the visual language we use can have.  In contemplating the question of language as a tool of ones Will and magick, being willing to expand ones understanding of language beyond spoken or written words can become especially crucial in many ways. 

For one, given the nature of the social media sphere in our digital age with the ways machine learning and algorithms influence our daily lives.  Algorithms take what we post, what we like and share and then can determine what we see, determine the sources and ideas and images and philosophies we are exposed or even have access to all based on what we have communicated to them what (they sometimes imperfectly ‘think’) we want to see.  What are the offerings are you making to your local digital egregores and internet genius loci telling them about what you want in your life or for the world?  What is what you share or post or the signals you boost communicating to other people in your life?  Are you sure about that?

Another good example is in our own awareness and interaction or engagement with the world around us.  As I write this, I am waiting on the landfall of a Category 1 hurricane on the Florida coast.  By the time Nicole reaches The City Beautiful, she will be passing through as a Tropical Storm.  Earlier today I was amused to think about how before moving to Florida I thought of the saying “the calm before the storm” as purely metaphor.  But, if you’ve been here long enough and you pay attention, you can feel it.  The dry coolness in the air, the movement of the clouds, the slight but unrelenting breezes playing with the tree branches; there’s a storm a commin’!
 
It’s reminiscent of how on a hot humid day you’ll feel the air turn suddenly colder and you’ll know that the humidity has moved quickly elsewhere and you’re about to get caught in an afternoon thunderstorm?

Our words and the languages we use and how we use them are all worth some contemplation and care in our journeys as practitioners!

Bliss and Blessed Be, Pax / Geoffrey