Setting intentions. Hello, new moon in virgo.

This is me, setting intentions.

This is me telling the universe, The Powers That Be, that I am ready.

This is me sifting through the wreckage of dreams laid bare, allowed to crash against the rocks of life. This is me sorting what to keep, what to reimagine, and what to leave behind.

I am writing again. I am curating a book of poems and imagery. I am going back to school and completing my English degree. 

I am ready, and open, and know where my heart lies.

Right there, along the precipice.

I am ready to jump.

SEVEN. II.

1. Sometimes I want to show up--all of me. All the dark and pieced together parts. There is no gold to fill the cracks, just a death grip to make sure it doesn't all fall apart.  

Other times I'm grateful for the superficial connections. They take less energy. Less work.  

2. Curating my own work with the dream of self-publishing a book. Short stories, poetry, and photos.  

Universe, this is me asking. Please.

3. Ice cold coconut water and chocolate covered salted caramels.

4. The way errands feel like a date.  The intimacy of shared observations.

5. Three hours in the front yard today, four hours yesterday, and all this black mulch spread about. The greenery really pops now.  

6. He's barbecuing tonight and I know he knows I'll sniff him as soon as he walks back in the house. The smell of smoke on his neck is intoxicating.  

7. Fresh, white sheets. I can't help it; I love them.  

Sometimes I write short stories: Le Loup

PROLOGUE

There's a wolf in my skin.

Well, under it, really, if we're being exact.

I feel it pacing night after night, its patience worn thin. I feel the way it craves warm touch, the way it wants to burrow deep. I feel the way it lunges each time the door is left open, its longing to run a bittersweet pull.

I can even smell the musk of it every time I brush my hair; the dark, burnished chocolate softer than fur but still bristling at the hint of danger.

Well, at least it does now.

I'm not sure how it got there, if I'm being honest.

If I'm being honest, I'm sure it has always been there.

I remember the first time I realized there was something more to me.

Something other.

The tree didn't look that tall from the ground. They never do, though, do they? Not when you're 11-years-old. When you're 11-years-old, every fence can be scaled, every hill can be ridden, and every tree can be conquered.

So, I climbed.

Leaning in, my hands griped the rough bark as my shoes found footholds I couldn't see. Sam cheered me on, her voice drowning out the jeering group of boys because that's what best friends do for each other when there is a dare on the table.

"Ava, you got this! Don't slow down!" I figured if she was encouraging me, then how could what I was doing be dangerous. Sam is the cautious one. The one who looks both ways and then waits a minute before crossing the street. Sam would never steer me wrong.

And she didn't. Even if she'll tell you otherwise.

No.

No, it wasn't Sam's fault the branch broke, and I fell 20 feet. It wasn't Sam's fault I broke my leg in two places and knocked myself unconscious.

No, it wasn't Sam's fault, no matter what she might tell you.

If anyone is responsible for what happened, it's me.

The fault was mine.

It was all mine.

The growl in my head startled me.

Sometimes I write short stories: La Mort Et Moi

The road slithered through the hillside, a serpentine maze of curves and drop-offs creating a backroad through the hustle and bustle. Tall wildflowers hugged the shoulders while tree limbs reached themselves leisurely across the expanse of pavement. They made it easy to forget about the traffic and the orange glow of big box parking lots when you were out there.

Too easy.

The darkness that crept in at night ate the ambient light from suburbia like a yawning mouth and the field of stars overhead could almost hide the way the blood stained the median.

Almost.

But, she knew it was there.

Knew if she held her hand close enough, the remaining warmth would press against it, a cat back arched in greeting.

Knew if she inhaled through her nose, she'd catch the scent of pennies and musk, of woodsmoke and rain.

Knew if she stared at him long enough she might be able to will him to move again.

To breathe again.

She fixed her eyes on his sternum, avoiding his unseeing gaze as best as she could. The rich, chocolate with pinpricks of honeyed constellations no longer aglow. 

"One two. One two. One two." Her steady cadence mimicked the lost heartbeat she knew so well, but inside her thoughts were pleading just breath just breathe please just breathe in an unfamiliar staccato. She'd never felt this panicked before, never felt this desperate.

Every other time before she could disconnect, step out of her head and her heart, block out the bile rising in her throat, and do the work.

We are those who walk with Death.

Hell, she'd learned the family credo before she even learned how to spell her own name.

And now, when she needed her training most, she couldn't access it. For the first time since she learned she could bring back the dead, she was afraid.

What if she couldn't bring him back? 

What if she could?

SEVEN. I.

1. It's not autumn yet, but oh how I wish it were. Days of temperatures over 110ºF, humidity that makes walking to the car feel more like swimming, sweat running in rivers.

I'm over it.

2. Back to the cards.

3. Vampy lips and lots of mascara, and the way it feels like another facet explored.

4. There are a lot of ways to apologize. And a lot of ways to realize sometimes you don't need to.

5. Copious amounts of hot tea, even in this heat. Masochist.

6. Still on the hunt for the perfect white tee. Sleeves need to be longer than cap sleeves, but short enough that they don't cover my whole bicep. Neckline needs to be low enough for cleavage and cage bras or high enough that it only shows my clavicle. Length has to be past my waist, but not to my hips. It can't be so flowy that I look pregnant, but not too fitted, either.

I wish I could make my own clothes.

7. September. Sept. Seven.

TEN. VIII. Minus III.

1. Find yourself a partner so thoughtful that when they see a bird in distress (it's about 111°F out where we live) in your courtyard, they fill a large tray with water and set it outside on the off chance the bird returns.

2. Because when you ask whose idea it was, because you were off picking up your daughter, your partner tries to play it off like it was the youngest's idea (even though it wasn't).

3. Because a person's character shines when they do something for someone or something that can provide nothing in return. 

4. Because a person that thoughtful of small needs will likely be as thoughtful of big needs.  

5. Because the sheepish grin when they realize you know it was their idea is everything.  

6. Because they will set an example for those around them.  

7. Because how fucking sweet is that?! 

TEN. VII.

1. I wonder if the solar eclipse energy is not just a fierce shot of the feminine (hello, Luna love), but also a bit of balance. Light and dark. The shadows dancing during the day. 

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2. I broke my new pair of shoes and dropped my house key in in the middle of a busy street while walking O to school this morning. 

But, while out on errands (read: window shopping), I found the perfect new kettle, the most adorable Autumn + Halloween decor,  a rug (that I am OBSESSED with) for the courtyard, and the perfect modern industrial basket for the stack of blankets I like to keep available for snuggling on the couch. 

See? Balance.  

3. I am convinced shelf bras in camis are not meant for large breasts. It feels like I've Ace bandaged myself.  

4. Leaves aren't changing color here quite yet, but the air . . . oh, the air is changing. Persephone's return is near and it feels like Hades is exhaling.  

5. There are days when I feel as if jeans are too constricting and overrated, and days when I wish for the most perfect bell bottoms with a thick hem and a perfect flare. 

6. Why is the queue at my daughter's high school almost full an hour before school even gets out? I don't remember school pick up and drop off being this chaotic or stressful for my parents.  

7. Why do songs sung in Hawai'ian get me all choked up? Like, I get legit emotional. Past life grief, maybe?

8. And when can I get my feet back on that sacred soil? Even if it feels wrong to be a tourist there. Like, I love it, but it feels wrong in a way, too.  

9. I'm not me when it's summer time, and I feel like I wait all year for September 21st. 

10. Freyja is just about healed and I just ordered two mini dresses (in black, of course) to rock her in the Autumn.  

Mini dresses. I haven't worn mini dresses since junior high. Who am I? 

TEN. VI.

1. I looked up content versus happy. Happy, by definition, seems to be a state wherein all your wants and needs are met. Contentment, on the other hand, comes about when you may not have everything you want, but have everything you need and are no longer disturbed by desires of more.  

2.  I sat in our freshly swept courtyard today, after having slept in and awoken to a sweet six-year-old's arm draped across my chest, after having witnessed my 17-year-old doing a happy dance in my bedroom doorway, after greeting my 13-year-old in his room and finding he'd neatly made his bed, after kissing my husband good morning as he was in the middle of washing our daughter's car in the front yard, and … I realized I am content. I am happy. How lucky am I to have both. 

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3. I want floor cushions for the courtyard, I think. And a low coffee table. A tray of candles. I want this space to be the space we step out barefoot and feel embraced.  

4. Music. The curating of perfect playlists. The way one sets a mood by simply pressing Play.  

5. Beef carnitas and salsa fresca.  

6. "Are those gladiator sandals?" he asks. I laugh because they sort of are and sort of not what I would normally wear, but I feel like my wardrobe needs to grow up a little. 

7. Tattoos have a way of teaching you the beauty that can be found in pain and the art of being patient.  

I am certain I need at least two more. 

8. The peeling stage is still gross, though.  

9. The part of my kettle that moves the cap that whistles melted. Shouldn't these parts, all the parts, be heat proof? 

10. No coffee for the last week. I miss the scent, but not much else.  

 

 

TEN. V.

1. Matte grey nail polish. It must be almost Fall.

2. The tub in our master bath is so deep I have to hold the sides to climb inside. I wonder sometimes how I won't drown in there, and realize a bath may never be relaxing since I have no chance of getting any taller.

3. Maxi dresses are life right now.

4. Catching up on GAME OF THRONES. Season six. Even knowing the spoilers, I'm still caught off guard in all the best ways. That is what amazing storytelling creates.

5. Appreciating the uncurated. But only briefly. Because mess makes me claustrophobic. 

6. Text message typing interrupted by the person you are texting, and the serendipity of knowing they were thinking of you at that same moment, too.

7. En garde, Monsieur Soleil! 

Be with someone who would slay the sun for you.

8. Eagerly anticipating the first foggy, rainy day. Now that the deck is done, the courtyard needs attention.

9. #FreyjaOfTheThigh. Baby steps toward self-love. Adorning the thunder with the goddess of love and battle and witchcraft. Plants with healing properties. A compass so I never lose my way and, if I do, I am never truly lost. Layers of pain open to healing, in more than one way.

10. Photos taken that will never be shared publicly. And wondering if that's why I take them.

 

TEN. IV.

1. Grey. The outdoor sofa and the crunching river rock and the cardigan and the sky.

2. Hot tea. Lady Grey. Sweetened and with a splash of heavy cream. The ritual of it all. Fill the kettle, ignite the flame, listen for the whistle.

3. White linens.

4. I'm going to do yoga when I wake up, I tell myself before falling asleep. But . . . when I wake up, I just want to be outside, on our deck. And this is self-care, too.

5. I will never, never be a warm weather person. Give me a day's high of 70ºF and I'd be a happy woman. This 90+ degree weather is just too much. I blame global warming.

Yes, it's a thing.

6. The knowing look on his face when I smile and stare at the filling bookcases and say, "That just really makes me happy."

7. Lavender. The scent, not the color.

8. I'm tired of unpacking already, and there is still so much to unpack.

9. Changing out of leggings just to shower and put on a new pair of leggings. Why do jeans feel so restricting during the summer?

10. Tattoo appointment tomorrow. I feel equal parts masterpiece and masochist.

Raising Wolves.

Raising a strong, fierce daughter has been (relatively) easy because she comes from warrior blood. 

Dragon ladies and bruhas, shield maidens and hustlers. 

Women who know what it is to not just survive, but fucking thrive even through adversity. 

Raising strong, fierce boys is where my worry lies. Will they be good men? Compassionate and kind, quick to help without need for reciprocity? Will they stand against oppression and abuse? Will they be more than bystanders in life? 

And then I remember they have warrior blood, too.

I remember the lineage of women who once held them in their wombs.

I remember that I married their father because he is a good man and I knew he would help create good men.

I remember my boys never fail to temper their ferocity with the size of their hearts. 

. . . lest their sister kick their asses. 😜

TEN. III.

1. "Mama, you're so brown."

I think sometimes my kids forget I'm half-Filipina, too, but these last three weekends working in the yard seems to have reminded them. And me. Under this milky white lives golden melanin just waiting to get out. 

2. If it's going to be grey and rainy, it should be cold. This muggy, sticky stuff is ridiculous. 

3. Cropped sweaters and flared jeans. I'm so ready for Fall.

4.  Books. Boxes and boxes and boxes of them, and I feel giddy just handling them. 

5. Awake before the sun.  

6. The black dye seems to be completely washed out of my hair, and I'm not sure if I miss it enough to damage my hair further or if maybe I just miss the way I feel when my hair is black. 

7. Alphabetized by author last name, but also sorted by genre, then sub-genre, then series. Hours of work, and it doesn't feel like work. 

I feel like I would make a decent librarian. Is it too late? Have I missed my calling?

8. White paint and resin planters.  

9. The wisteria is blooming and the tendrils creep ever closer to our stucco. 

10. Why has no one invented the Everlasting Candle? I love the ambiance of real candles, but dislike the lack of longevity.  

TEN. II.

1. Grey floors and white, satin-finish walls.

2. The duvet is fluffy and soft, and the pillows are plentiful, and I wish I could strip out of these jeans and enjoy the breeze from the fan on my bare legs.

3. Coming back. To the words. To the cards. To my own reflection. Giving each thing space and grace.

4. Listening to them talk while they work. Women and video games and pointing out they are over bars. "I'm not really attracted to girls who are into that anymore. Maybe when I was 18 to 20, but not anymore."

5. Suddenly 36 feels so old. But also, really, really doesn't.

6. Eight of Wands. Inverted. And all I can think about is how his eyes met mine as I shuffled and I wondered when they would be done. Extroverted introvert. The cards always know.

7. Little brothers and estranged parents. The way you can think you know someone and they become a stranger. They way you can meet a stranger and wonder what it would be like to really know them.

8. It's that time of year when all I want is the heat to pass and the chill to settle in, and I stand in my closet wondering why I don't own more cardigans and moto leggings.

9. Roasted seaweed and fresh rice.

10. I don't want to check out, but sometimes I want to turn down.

When you're lost, go back to the beginning.

Do you follow The Hoodwitch or Chani Nicholas? I do. I'm an astrology fan from way back. I still remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom surrounded by Rainbrow Brite dolls and Care Bear figurines, spinning the paper wheel ever so carefully as I plotted my natal chart.

I'm a Capricorn Sun, Libra Moon, Taurus Rising, by the way. I'm also a Metal Monkey, if you follow Chinese astrology, too.

Anyway, I read earlier this week that this new moon will shift things. Shake things up. Move things over. Burn bridges down while we watch in awe.

Or horror, I suppose.

Either way, it's time to plant new roots.

beginagain

I woke up this morning with the troubling feeling that things were off. Not in the world, mind you (we are ALL aware of the reality show circus turned horror film we currently live in), but in me. With me. Just . . . off.

I was logged into my social media and just feeling . . . not me. 

I've identified as a witch, publically, for years now. But, more and more, I am finding the word being used in ways that feel less descriptive of someone who practices witchcraft and more as an empowered woman. Which is cool for some, I guess, but not for me. Mostly because that then excludes whole groups of people, and that's just not what I'm about. That said, my public professional social media accounts, and even this website, self-identifies me as a witch and I'm struggling to rewrite who I am in a way that feels real that no longer includes that word.

I don't even know if any of this makes sense, if I am being honest.

All I know is what I've labeled myself, claimed as my truth for so long, now feels trite and overused and I'm not sure where to go from here in a way that still allows me to connect with like-minded people, but without the buzzwords. You know?

So, please don't mind me (or this space) as I sift through the foundations and rubble to rebuild. xo

Do. The. Work.

It's been … well, far too long since I've sat with a deck.

Sometimes I worry that they'll forget me or we'll forget each other and have to rebuild our relationship. And then I remember that's not how it works for me. They'll chastise me, sure, but the energy is there, the way we understand each other doesn't change.

Sometimes I wish they coddled me, allowed me to only see the positive to a situation. And then I remember we don't work like that, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

-------

july192017

A quick spread to check in with myself.

"What do I need to know about 1) myself, 2) my body, 3) my art, and 4) my future career?"

1. The Fool.
2. Six of Pentacles, inverted.
3. Page of Wands, inverted.
4. Three of Cups.

All reminders to find my footing and not be afraid to take that first step, be gentle with myself, put in the work, and find my community.

And, yet again, I am reminded why I come back to the cards time and time again.

* Deck: LinestriderTarot by Siolo Thompson

TEN. I.

1. The relief felt on an air mattress on the floor in the new house versus all the nights on a Tempurpedic in the last house. The anxiety attached to that place had become overwhelming.

2. Light traveling along our north facing windows and the way it feels soft but still bright.

3. "Love you, momma. Thank you for letting me go. :)"

4. White letters on black felt and all the ways words give breath to space.

5. Needing to be loved harder, louder today after a night of bad dreams and giving voice to that need without shame. And being met without question.

6. Ten boxes a day. That's the goal. And, yet, it is still overwhelming. I wish I could hire someone to unpack for me, someone who could see my vision for this home and who knew exactly where I wanted everything placed.

7. I feel like my cards miss me, but also know I am not in a place to come to them with a clear head. Or maybe I'm not in a place to hear what they have to say. Either way, it is probably time to sit with them again.

8. Palo santo. Smoke curls and ash.

9. Someone remind me to find the time to sit and gather my inspiration for my next tattoo, okay? I want it done before the end of the month, ideally, so I can bathe under the next full moon without worrying about an open wound.

10. Shield maidens and sorcerers. 

Write anything.

There is a well known quote that suggests you "write what you know."

What happens, then, when what comes is foreign to us? What happens when the words don't come at all, even though you feel them there? What do we do when we need a bit of guidance, a constellation to follow as we navigate our way?

See, that's where someone like Jeanette LeBlanc comes along.

I have been a writer since . . . well, since I can remember, really. But, sometimes, I get stuck. Whether that means I get caught up in my head or feel as if I am falling behind at life, I get stuck and then the words don't come. Or they do, but they need coaxing.

See: Jeanette.

I took her Unleashed: A 12 Week Writing Workshop last year and it helped free up my words immensely. Not only did the workshop give me the space and structure I needed to get back to my writerly ways, but it also encouraged me to pick my camera back up again--two things I desperately needed.

As luck would have it, Jeanette's new Unleased workshop begins July 5th. Which means if you, too, have found your muse needs a bit of wooing, if maybe the words are there but just beyond your grasp, maybe it's time you reached out for a compass. It's not a map of your world, by any means, not the end all and be all . . . but it surely will help lead you out of the dark waters of doubt.

* Affiliate links contained within this post, but all opinions are my own. Because I really did take the workshop and it really did help me.