Activism · Poetry · Practice · spirituality · The Moon

Going into Spring

Would you believe it’s nearly Ostara, or the Spring Equinox?  I cannot.  I feel like I just had my birthday (February 8) and the days are slipping past…. I can tell you this has been compounded by working a day and night shift rotation at work.  This serves to confuse morning and night and when I should be sleeping and eating and finding bits of time in between to work on my practice.

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But, here we are.  What have I been up to?

Well, February, the shortest month, of course, came and went like the blink of an eye.  Mostly, I recall the poetry that I made that month.  Thanks, again to Jodi for organizing this challenge!  She continued the challenge as a once a week thing (#pinpsaturday), inspired by tarot cards, and though I participated in the first one I have yet to write my second….. But, below is my favorite poem that I wrote in February (it was really hard to pick just one).  This poem helped to inspire my recent blog post on what it means to be wild.

what does it mean to be wild?
the seething, open expanse of my soul
the feral growling of my heart
the heady tingle between my legs.
do you see me as a beast, roaming?
do you feel my spirit, stalking?
come drink at water’s edge with me,
Orion shining on the backs of our necks.
transitory duality,
     the sense of self we refuse to apologize for.
the fiery snaps of passion.

In February, I opened my tarot shop and had a successful first month, in my humble opinion.  No, I do not expect to be raking in $50,000/year with my tarot side hustle (which Benebell somehow says is possible!…).  But I read for a variety of beautiful people, and at the end of the month donated 10% of my profits to The Trevor Project.  (If you’re interested in booking a reading with me click here.)

Also in February, I went to my first Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) meeting.  This local group is still quite new and I would be lying if I said that it was a wonderful experience.  As described previously on my blog, it is a group focused on getting white people involved in the fight for racial justice.  I think that the heart of this group is in the right place, but I also think that it is not quite the flavor of social justice that I’m looking for right now.  My next step is to make contact with the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, which is a local group and below is their mission statement from their website.

“Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice inspires, educates, and mobilizes people to unite across differences and to act from their shared ethical and spiritual values in pursuit of peace with social and environmental justice.”

I think this group might be more in line with my current path, as I’m feeling more spiritually inclined recently.

Oh, and, I’ve been reading more (as per my “what does it mean to be wild?” post)!  I finished Big Little Lies (a chick lit novel, that was just ok) and I’m working through Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman.  So far the book is not what I expected, though it is interesting to learn about Artemis and how her themes connect to the modern world.  I hope it gets better, a little more personal and spiritual, but we’ll see.  I’m also working my way through The Wildwood Tarot: Wherein wisdom resides, aka the guidebook for The Wildwood Tarot.  I recently purchased the deck, and it feels very special and different so I wanted to read through the guidebook completely before working with it (an idea from the lovely Ania).

Speaking of Artemis… She’s the first goddess that I felt an affinity for, that I felt had something to teach me.  She’s the goddess that helped/is helping me connect more with my wild.  And now, another goddess has made herself known to me: Cailleach.  I wrote a little bit about her on my Instagram, and she really deserves her own post, but I copied my IG summary here…  She is an ancient pre-Celtic (and then Celtic) goddess of the ancestors, wisdom, weather, time, shape-shifting, and winter.  She helps us with the cycles of life, provides protection, to release what no longer serves us, strength, trust, balance, magic, and transformation.  It is said that she created the rocky terrain of Scotland and Ireland by dropping boulders from her apron.  I’m just starting to learn a bit about her, but I feel she will be a powerful teacher.  Going into spring really isn’t her season (goddess of winter, hello), but her lessons feel applicable to where my life is now.

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Along with this exploration of Cailleach, I’ve finally jumped in to watching the videos of the incomparable Kelly-Ann Maddox.  This was a recommendation from Sammy (aka @spiritandsaga on Instagram), and I’m working through some of Kelly-Ann’s older videos.  I can already tell her videos are a goldmine of resources and I’m inspired by how open she is about her path.  To be honest, I find it difficult to get through YouTube videos because I find that I can’t multitask very well when watching them.  Even trying to listen to one while blogging is a bit difficult for me…

By the way, did I tell you that I received the most beautiful reading from Sammy in February?  I shared some pretty personal stuff with her, and she took that and gave me an in-depth, insightful and helpful reading.  I’ve returned to it a number of times in the last month, and I’m so grateful for her words.  Go check out her shop — she has some truly creative spreads available.

And so, March.  I’ve been making art (something new for me!) with the #createthisoracledeck challenge hosted by Kristen (@otmoraclecards on Instagram).  I loved the way that the post-it note poetry made me feel: creative, but with no pressure.  That’s how I feel about this oracle deck challenge.  I’m using mostly watercolor, and really enjoying the experimentation and also the “writing” of the “guidebook” (aka the captions).  I’m a couple days behind but will hope to catch up this week…  Above are three examples of my cards, and also the mountain card to the right of Cailleach further above.

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Then yesterday, I pulled the Page of Pentacles from the Morgan-Greer Tarot and “curious” from the Soul Space Oracle.  These two decks together have astounded me so much that I don’t really want to use anything else recently.  I have been pulling one tarot and one oracle card from each deck, and there are always such wonderful reflections of each other.  Either simply in keyword, color, shape, or all of the above.  Here, the page of pentacles and curious go together so seamlessly, an interpretation doesn’t feel required.  The page of pentacles is the most curious page of the bunch — though, don’t get me wrong, curious is, indeed, a great keyword for all pages.  But this page, he’s about digging in, about exploring the physical world, he’s about taking a journey.  He’s curious about his dreams, he’s curious about growth and the natural ways we can manifest for ourselves.  He can be a harbinger of new experiences, including new jobs…

Which, do you remember my blog post about the full moon in Leo back in February?  I wrote of a some good news surrounding empire building?  OH YEAH — I’m starting a new job on March 27!  I’m moving to the labor and delivery unit in my current hospital.  I’m so excited for this new venture, as this new unit and type of care I will be providing seems much more in line with my personal and spiritual development over the last 2.5 years that I’ve worked in the operating room.  I’m so grateful for my experiences in the OR: it was a great way to begin my nursing career without immediately hating and being overwhelmed by my job.  It taught me how to be truly confident in my nursing care and practice.  I’m so thrilled to see where my career will take me from here.  And I’ll be working 3-12 hour shifts per week, full-time midnights, so that will be a big (positive) change for me.

And the moon, that big beautiful moon.  The recent full moon in Virgo has teased out some weird feelings for me, (I’ve been trying lately to identify how the moon cycle affects my feelings/body, but really all I come up with is “weird”).  Sometimes, it’s like I need change to happen immediately, I need to do something drastic to feel productive.  But, lately, I’m feeling as if all of my little changes are starting to add up.  I’m getting into the long game, the “patient manifestation” from my above Soul Space Oracle reading.  Recently, all of my readings for myself seem to be about the same stuff on repeat.  Remember that Tarot Thursday Three question about remaining unbiased when reading for ourselves?  Yeah, well, I’m having a hard time with that lately.  I’m not sure if it’s the full moon, or the Venus retrograde, or just my airy little mind, but….it’s weird.

Phew, alright.  I think that’s a nice primer on what I’ve been up to!  What have you been up to?  What is calling to you going into this spring season?  What plans do you have cooking?  Do you have any thoughts about what I’ve shared above?  Tell me all about it in the comments below!

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

Activism · Practice · Unlearning

I went to a protest.

Disclaimer:  I’m putting this baby right up top here.  This is my blog; this is me unlearning.  I want to make change, and I want to help.  But first — I need to unlearn some massive concepts, things that have simply been my way of life until now.  So if you come to my blog, and if, while here, you see something that I’ve written that is offensive or blatantly wrong, please help me to unlearn.  Yes, I understand this is my own duty, ultimately, but if you find yourself here on my blog, please help me to unlearn.

This is the second post in my Unlearning series.  If you’re interested in following my entire journey, please start here: “Yes, I am a white woman.”

Since trump’s inauguration, we’ve experienced a deluge of increasingly worrisome news about his administration.  Recently, trump issued an executive order that curtails the refugees and immigrants that are allowed into the United States.  The ban targets seven Muslim majority countries and Syrian refugees.  (This has since been blocked.)  So… I went to a protest, my first protest, last Sunday, January 29.

In less than 24 hours, a group of four local, Detroit women mobilized an estimated ten thousand plus people to protest trump’s Muslim ban at the Detroit Metro Airport.  There were protests in cities and airports across the country, and we were just one of them.  It was beautiful, and large, and loud (and cold).  There were people from all sexes, races, and ages.  There were uplifting posters, angry posters, and one massive papier mache Donald Trump head.  The crowd would intermittently erupt into cheers of “no fear, no hate,” “no ban, no wall,” and “this is what democracy looks like,” among others.  Except for one guy from a group of anarchists who got tackled by Homeland Security Police, it was very peaceful.

I felt proud to be there, among so many people who were standing up for what is right.  I am happy that my introduction to proper protesting/activism was part of such a successful, local movement.

But… It’s not enough to stop there.  This is just the beginning.  For one, I will begin attending meetings of the Showing Up for Racial Justice — Washtenaw chapter, the first one being February 19.  The group’s mission statement is below.

SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change.

Until that first meeting, I’m working to balance educating myself on what is going on in this country and distancing myself from the rampant toxicity.  Earlier this week, I read this article (via Little Red Tarot) about staying outraged without losing my mind.  It gave pointers like take a break from the news, make activism fun, and a list of ways to take care for yourself.  I nodded along with the article, but kind of pushed it to the side.  (With self-care that’s so easy to do… am I right?!)

Yesterday, I pulled a card from the Slow Holler Tarot and the Okanagan Oracle:  the Ten of Branches (wands), and Mindful.  The collective message here was to be mindful of our energy and where we’re directing it.  It’s so important to build up positive habits, to take time for self-care.  Even working non-stop to educate ourselves, or fighting 24/7 for social justice issues can be harmful and constricting.  That heavy feeling, that angst and outrage?  Self-care is what is going to combat it: take a walk, draw a bath, stop reading the damn news, get in some yoga flow.  *sigh* I’m trying.

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Today, my partner pointed out to me that I’ve generally been in a foul mood for the last couple weeks.  I can’t exactly pinpoint the source, but I know that trump and his shenanigans are not helping.  Either way, I know self-care needs to become more important.  I wrote a recent post about my resolutions/affirmations for 2017, and holy crap if January wasn’t a bust on all of these fronts.  In January I did set up everything for my tarot shop, so it wasn’t a complete waste, but self-care was pretty lacking.  But, hey, my word of the year is practice so, I’ll try again in February and….I guess I’m off to a good start to 2017, then.

On February 1, the day before Imbolc, I took a long walk outside.  The weather was mild and it was a bright day.  Spring was on the air.  It was a tangible reminder to plant seeds for the coming season, to prepare for blossoming, to dream and plan, and begin co-creating — what Imbolc is all about.  I feel that this sort of mindful, directed self-care is a kind of protest in it’s own way.  Do what you enjoy, make the magick you believe in, embrace your weird and fringe qualities, and give trump a big fuck you by living the life of your dreams.

So, I’m trying.  Not all of my efforts will be successful and grand, but I’m trying.  I’m thinking and processing, and — hey — just opened my tarot shop, which while not “self-care” exactly is something for myself about which I’m so excited.

How are you faring in this new world?  How have you been doing with self-care lately?  Are you getting more locally involved in protest/activist efforts?  Let me know in the comments below.

Exploringly yours,
Alaina x