Little Things

OliverThe school year is finally coming to an end. A few more days with students, a week of exams, then a week of teacher workdays for closeout procedures and grading (some of which I’m taking off for Free Spirit Gathering because priorities).

I’m having to go back to basics. A lot of my writing lately can be boiled down to, “I don’t feel great and don’t really want to do anything because sometimes I’m too tired or too unfocused to think about Craft stuff,” and lately I feel like that’s changing. Finally. Last month I took everything off the altar in my bedroom and put it in a box. If you let things go and then try to come back, it can all start to seem cluttered. Even intimidating. Too heavy to just walk back into. So I cleared everything off–altar cloth and all–and just set a single candle in place. I haven’t made any of those in forever, so all I had was yellow. In Golden Dawn interpretations of tarot, yellow is tied to consciousness and connection with God, so yellow felt appropriate. I’ve been lighting it every night while I’m home. When it burns down, I put in a fresh candle. This ritual has become enormously comforting.

I feel like reading lately, too. The season brought some new releases that I’m actually excited about, and my to-read pile from yesteryear is starting to look appealing again.

The book is back at Llewellyn for a second round of editing. It’s still pretty surreal. I wrote a book. The release date is July 2018…lightyears away. The idea for the cover has already been set, so I’m hoping to have something to show you guys in a month or two.

I’m ready to have a second project. I started writing a piece of fiction for Camp NaNoWriMo in April, and I expect I’ll pick that back up once summer break starts. It felt good to do something completely different. I’ve never written fiction before.

Free Spirit always breathes some life back in. I forget that summer is my season and always makes me feel better. This is the first year I’ll be leading workshops there,too, so, again, something different. Winter Tashlin and I will be leading a discussion on privilege in Pagan communities, and Thista Minai and I will be teaching archery as a devotional practice. I’m excited to have my bow at Free Spirit. I’ll also have my feder, so I can pick fights with Acacia and any other interloping HEMA people. Good times.


Summer Plans

I have no idea what letter we’re on or what’s even been happening on the Interwebs because I’ve been too busy FINALLY FINISHING MY FUCKING MASTERS DEGREE. Graduation was Saturday, I submitted final student grades this morning, and am free and clear for the next forever as far as school’s concerned. I’ve still got two major projects in the works, but mostly all school has done in the last year is get in the way of my own research. I’m looking forward to working now with more care and without the hurry that leads to half-assed writing.

I’m also really thrilled at the prospect of being able to read pretty much whatever I want. I’m even a bit overwhelmed at where to begin. Do I keep on with my Capall Bann kick? Finish the Michael Howard pile (*blargh*)? Finally finish Scott’s Hanging from the Tree, which I’ve been plodding through for the last two months (in between paragraphs of my MA projects)? Choose things that complement my tarot work? Part of me is feeling nostalgic and wants to revisit Silver RavenWolf, just for the hell of it (American Folk Magick makes me think of summers in Michigan).  Right this moment I’m leaning toward Grimassi’s Horns of Honor: Regaining the Spirit of the Pagan Horned God because it’s been sitting on my shelf since he was nice enough to sign it for me and I’m curious about what he has to say.

I have a lot I could read. The problem is that I lose steam once I’ve hit the halfway point in a book and the novelty has worn off. Most Pagan and witch books are terrible, regardless of publisher, but I read them all because it’s worth it when you find that one thing you want to try. Or that tiny bit of whatever that helps you better formulate a nagging question (or, rarely, answer one). It’s worth it for the inside jokes you can make later. It’s worth it if it makes you appreciate your own practice or tradition in comparison (Hi, Bob! I love you!).

So I just make more coffee and push through.

I can also refocus on my tarot correspondence course and maybe finish it before the Amberstones are in their nineties or I have to use a Ouija board to turn in my homework.

I’ve also got some shorter essays in mind, which will end up as either blog posts or magazine/newsletter submissions once they’re completed.

Reading and writing aside, my big summer focus is prep for the fall hunting season. Archery practice is an almost daily occurrence, and I’m steadily becoming more active in my club (which is for traditional archery only). My state-mandated hunter safety course is set up for July and I’m researching deer (both in general and locally), field dressing and butchering, and local businesses that can help me process the body the way I want, if and when I find myself with a body. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading into hunting and ethics, which is very challenging and a welcome change from the usual Pagan-lite drivel about loving a nebulous, romanticized “Nature.”

In this latest chapter of Thorn Does All The Things, I find myself pushed magically and spiritually in ways that no book can touch. More on that as the season approaches.

What else? Well, now that the warm weather is here and school is out of the way, I can plant again. There’s foxglove and strawberry blooming in the garden, and this shall be the summer of finally planting trees in the back yard. Today I’ll also fill the feeders.

All is well.

Archery Things

C is for archery.  Wait, no.

As some of you may or may not know, I’ve become just a little obsessed with a certain projectile weapon.  I started teaching myself last winter, joined the school archery club, and am considering competing at the urging of the coach.  Actually, part of me would like to start hunting, but only because I’m weirdly fascinated by the process of field dressing and my happiest moments in middle school came during Mr. Bricker’s taxidermy class (because I went to Crazy Liberal Special School for Questionable Children).  I cry when I accidentally step on bugs, so I’m pretty sure the hunting thing will never happen, but when I’ve had too much coffee and I’m listening to Appalachian folk music with really great harmonies, I think, “If I purport to be practicing some kind of nature religion [because when I listen to lots of fiddle music, Wicca become a nature religion for me again], and if I want to be a meat eater who’s not also a hypocrite, then I should learn how to kill something and eat it.”

But then my iPod shuffles to something by Savage Garden and my thought train goes somewhere else entirely.

Anywho, I’m rapidly becoming pretty obsessive about archery (by which I mean traditional archery, because authenticity.  Haha that was a joke.).  The bow I spend most of my time with is a Samick Polaris, but I’ve also got a Sage and have been experimenting with PVC pipe and other do-it-yourself-without-a-bandsaw strategies for bow building.

Last week the campus photography club asked a couple of us to do a photo shoot.  Lots of fun, even if I had to remind a couple of young men to not step in front of my arrow because I might accidentally kill them.  One was really intent on getting a shot from the tip of the shaft at full draw, but that didn’t happen (that I know of, anyway).  Safety is sexy.  Here are some of the pictures, which make me look way more competent than I actually am:

Photos by Audley Yung and Wes Allen.