Sudden Moment

This prompt of ‘Sudden moments’ from Poets and Storytellers United.

I felt lousy for days. One of the endless head colds I copped back then, in my thirties, when every period meant my immune system crashed, and the bugs my kids so generously shared from school crept into my body. This one came with a cough-cough-cough.

My partner was fed up with my coughing. I coughed when he came to bed at 2am, fresh from a night’s computer programming, and ready for sex, sleep, and a home-cooked breakfast(every morning, thanks, because he’s the bread winner, so no store bought bread). So it was a perfunctory goodbye as he went to work.

I made the bed. Coughed. Swooned on it a while, covered in sweat. Coughed. Dusted a shelf. Coughed. Must carry on, be tough, prove to him that I’m worth his time. Cough.

Something sharp jabbed me in the side, and tingling pain spread through my back, my ribs, up into the nestle spot of my shoulder, my neck. Breath held, pain dying away to a dull ache. Breathing – pain, and more pain. Stabbing, an odd rustling in my chest, strange gurgle from somewhere around my liver.

I couldn’t lie down because getting up off the couch or bed was pain. Couldn’t sit. Couldn’t stand for long. I leaned against the wall. Coughed. Pain. I climbed onto the kitchen table, lay there, because at least I could slide off that to standing.

He telephoned mid-morning.

“I didn’t like the way you looked this morning. You looked sick for real.”

As though all those other times, I’d faked it.

“I coughed, and something’s wrong,” I said, croaking, coughing, groaning in pain.

He took me to the hospital. Nothing wrong. Ribs fine, lungs fine, everything good, good, good, we’re not keeping you in, go home, rest.

Two days later, I see my chiropractor.

“I almost didn’t recognise you,” he said. “You look that bad.”

My coughing had thrown something out in my spine, and my ribs. Painful clicks, and I could breathe and think again. More crunches, and the coughing stopped. I wept in gratitude, threw my spine out again. Another click.

That spot, years later, still goes out but obstructs rather than stabs. I don’t get quite the range and ease of movement I want when it’s being foolish. A few chiropractic clicks, and I’m fine, but no adjustment in the world gets rid of the scar tissue my ex-partner left behind – heart, mind, back teeth, scalp, ego.

Five years ago, he tried to make contact, saying we were friends. I disconnected in a short sharp stab of time.

How I Read Oracle Cards – one card pull instructional

Good morning. Executive decision to not go to dance class this morning, and concentrate on writing stuff. If I want this publication, writing life AS my life, creativity, digging deeper, spilling my mind into the world thing, then I have to make space for it. A growing urge since art therapy last week – lots of frustration came up over this old, old pattern of distraction.

Card: What you want is wanting you.

I asked for guidance for this morning’s writing session, with that decision in mind. I used the Sacred Rebels oracle: artwork by Autumn Skye Morrison, words by Alana Fairchild. (I get peeved with Alana’s decks, when the artist isn’t mentioned on the box. Just sayin’, Alana.)

  1. Looking at the card: a young person, hair streaming/floating, is looking up at the shape of spiral shell formed from their hair. They are white with brown eyes, dark hair. The background is blue sky with clouds. Colours are browns, whites, and blues, a hint of orange as shadow.
  2. Without looking at the book’s interpretation: this feels like a big yes to my decision to….I won’t say run, because that’s not my speed these days, but perhaps float or sail into the possibilities being offered by the various writers’ newsletters I receive, the opportunities offered through Writers Victoria, and my own research into various journals. I can only presume that my resurrected desire to be in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction means that they too desire to have me in there. Perhaps the world is waiting for my prose and poetry and creative non-fiction just as much as I want it out in the world. After years and years of thinking ‘no one cares’, this is complete turn-around of thought and energy, and brings to mind the lessons from E-SQUARED by Pam Grout. The universe wants to give me what I want. Okay then.
  3. The book meaning: “If you have been shamed, judged, made to feel guilt for, or denied your natural desires or pleasures in any way you may have developed and very tricky and complicated relationship with the yearnings of your heart. We often learn to distrust our desires and come to believe that they are something to be overcome or avoided. We may even try to want second best, disbelieving that we are worthy of our first choice….First, trust in what you truly want, what would bring a sense of passionate, playful purpose and fulfillment to your life….If you genuinely don’t know what your heart wants, you will very much enjoy the process of exploring your desires by making gentle and persistent enquiries of yourself….what is it that truly moves you….Play with what it would be like to be fulfilled right now.” All good thoughts from Alana Fairchild. Dream big, dream often.

The spiral in the card is a representation of the Goddess for me. The beautiful circular, sacred spiralling nature of the divine feminine. Look to the Goddess for inspiration, resolve, and bigger dreams.

The element of Air is strong in this card, with the floating hair, and the sky as background. Thought, inspiration, The Sword, The Mind.

I’ve mourned my pre-25 years old life, when I had a burgeoning writing career. I was publishing professionally regularly, wrote regularly, kept sending stuff out. I was confident that my work was good enough. Publications include: Starlog, Meanjin, Mattoid, Australian Short Stories, Far Out, Aurealis, Orb, Pandora, Westerly, Southerfly, LINQ, The Age, The Weekend Australian. I was an emerging writer.

Break to get married and have children – post-natal depression (undiagnosed).

A few more publications in Aurealis, and some overseas non-paying lit mags.

Five year gig as a columnist for NOVA, with appearances in Spellcraft, Circle, and some other USA pagan publications including Green Egg.

Slow fracturing of spirit and mind.

Current state: 42 sessions into TMS treatment (see my posts about Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy), art therapy, lockdown slow life, and suddenly, I feel like writing, and publication are possible.

This card says YES in a big way.

Guidance For Magical Folx – 1/8/21-7/8/21

Good morning to all magical folx. It’s a windy, chill Saturday morning here in Melbourne Australia. However, there are patches of blue sky, and the sun is coming out from behind cloud to shine through my windows.

Blue sky is much needed this week, for I have pulled the 8 of Cups from Ostara Tarot. The moon is waning from Taurus through to Cancer, just shy of a new moon the following day. Tomorrow, August 1st, is Imbolc in the Southern Hemisphere and Lammas in the Northern.

The 8 of Cups speaks to a sense of disappointment, and re-evaluation. An eagle man sits alone atop a rocky outcrop in clouds, with eight bowls smouldering a pinkish smoke. He is looking down. His wings are spread but he doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. The background of the card is grey. The clouds look like the ones here this morning. Off white with hints of grey. However, it’s to be noted that there is green vegetation surrounding the pillars on which the bowls are perched. Growth can come of this.

This coming week looks to be one of evaluating where you are and what you’re about. Where have you been feeling disappointed in a relationship or project, or perhaps in your relationship with yourself? Time to have a bit of a think about that. Clear your head, and find out how you really feel about the situation, person, project, or your own actions.

With the moon waning, it’s a perfect time to prepare to say farewell to that which isn’t giving you joy, and with the dark moon on next Saturday, that’s a great time to nick it off.

Contemplation, with a view to launch is the energy this week, with our eagle man still thinking, but wings spread. Dark Moon will be in Cancer, and my Moonology diary tells me there’s “some heavy duty Saturn energy this week so make sure you’re behaving like a grown-up”. I would say, make sure you’re adulting, not just being a grown-up.

Thanks to the Ostara Tarot created by Molly Applejohn and Eden Cooke.

The tarot holder is by Yiska Designs.

Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy – update 30/7/21

So here I am at the end of my second week(I think) of once-per-week treatment. Maybe my scalp loses its tolerance for the woodpeckering, but I came out with a headache, along with the usual neck ache. Honestly, TMS Australia, buy Glen Waverley the same neck bolster that Narre Warren have. I’m having to get weekly head, neck, and shoulders massage with my massage therapist to deal with the tension.

I have sent TMS Australia a request for the brilliant neck bolster, but so far, no action. The last purchase they made for Glen Waverley was a plain white waist-high cabinet to store the pillow covers in. By the way the doors don’t come together that well, I daresay it wasn’t an Ikea buy, but the Reject Shop.

Aaaaannyway, me. I am still holding steady with the depression, or the non-depression, or whatever this state is. I’ve said previously that I thought it would be ‘more’. I’m mostly in a non-sad state, just cruising along. No big swings either way. It’s still hard for me to identify emotions, and I think it always has been. It’s hard for me to recall how I felt about events in the moment. Autism? Inherited mild depression? Just born that way? Can I blame my astrological chart, with lots of Capricorn?

Whatever the case, I’m in neutral most of the time, so writing emotional poetry is hard for me. I….know how I felt about someone, how angry I’ve been. But happiness, joy? Slippery at best. Perhaps this leisurely life I lead, full of writing, reading, walks, fitness attempts, currently painting bits of the house, watching nature – maybe that’s contentedness.

A large gang of cockatoos are flying past my house. I thought post-TMS acute treatments would be me being as loud and as excitable as a cockatoo. Or as chatty and cheerful as a rainbow lorikeet. Mostly, it’s me, quiet, pottering, and not having suicidal ideation. It’s me not thinking everything too hard, and that the only way out is death. That death would be a nice rest.

The anxiety – well, sigh, it’s there. Yesterday was a busy day, and I ended up fried at the end of it. Brain and body are slow today, and the only reason there’s not generalised anxiety chatter going on, a whole row boat of ‘shoulds’, is that I’m simply too bloody tired, and have given myself permission to do not a lot today.

TMS works for me, and I’m holding steady at one treatment per week. I think the eventual plan is to go to one treatment every two weeks, but I have once a week booked in until mid-September. In half an hour, I’ll be taking a phone call from one of the in-house psychiatrists for a review.

Next week, I start art therapy, and I’m looking forward to that. There’s a whole lot of stuff inside that all the talk therapies in the world aren’t shifting, and I’m fed up with lugging all this junk around. Let’s see if art therapy can get at the places talking can’t.

Until next week, TMS-curious folx.

Divination instructional – how I read a card

Good morning divinators, card slingers, tarot and oracle card enthusiasts, and the divination-curious. This morning I’m reading from the Mountain Ash Animal Oracle, written by Vicki Minahan, and artwork by Helen Wells. I’ve long been a follower and fan of Helen’s artwork, and it’s a delight to finally have some of her art in oracle form. This is my first time using the deck, so here goes.

Lately, I’ve been delving into literature about the Dark Goddess. I’m currently reading ENCOUNTERING THE DARK GODDESS by Frances Billinghurst, about 1/3 of the way through.

Today’s question: how am I really feeling about this line of study, what I’m reading?

Leadbetter’s possum: native to the mountain ash forests of Victoria, currently endangered due to habitat loss and predation by introduced species such as feral cats.

In my local area there are two species of possum – brush tails, and ring tails. I hear the brush tails(the more dominant species) sometimes stomping across my roof. Very, very occasionally I’ll see a ring-tailed possum in a tree. My last encounter with a ring-tail was about 10 years ago, in the middle of a harsh winter, when I found one on the ground in my driveway. I took her to the vet, where they confirmed she was very cold, and had a baby in her pouch. They warmed her up, fed her, and sent her off to a wildlife carer who would look after her until she was strong enough to be rehabilitated. I have never encountered a Leadbetter’s possum.

The guidebook says that they represent resilience, the warrior within, fighting for survival against the odds.

I’m looking at the colours of the card, the background of soft brownish, pink, the surrounding blue, purple and green, and then the inner nest of grown and green leaves Tiny flowers. The possum on its back, tail curled around it. A vulnerable position, and yes, I do feel vulnerable as I delve into the realm of the Dark Goddess. I feel I must come to her belly up, open, eyes wide.

Am I in danger? Without a guide, quite possibly so. I have long feared the Dark Goddess, although I acknowledge that I am drawn to Persephone in my beloved Greek pantheon, and have felt the rage of Sekhmet. My own rage frightened me, and this controlling Capricorn felt very out of control.

If I want this knowledge, this journey through shadow work, then I must accept that I am in unknown territory and that brings with it fear. However, the Leadbetter’s possum drinks nectar from blossoms, so this journey has its own rewards.

The presence of ants around the nest, in the card, tell me to keep striving, keep going, do the work.

How do I really feel? Scared, like I’m in dangerous spaces, but also that there will be rewards, nourishment, nectar along the way.

Poem – In My Body

Prompt from Poets and Storytellers United.

My pelvis wide as ocean,

with bladder flowing along, of course.

Ovaries shrunken down

after forty years of storms.

Those tiny things starved of estrogen,

clung on like barnacles,

month after month screaming like seagulls.

Legs are whales,

belly a rolling wave.

Breasts whole islands

that the sea is reclaiming.

Tectonic plates moving south.

Shoulders hang around like anglerfish,

huge, waiting to snap

should I so much as sleep crooked.

Brain a whole coral reef of life

with sharks moving through.

Why the oceanic theme?

This morning, my body is a grey bay

of barely moving water,

sandbagged,

as slow as an outgoing tide.

Full Moon in Aquarius tarot reading

This spread comes from Labyrinthos.com. I couldn’t figure out how to copy the picture of the spread across, but here’s the legend for it, and you’ll see how the spread plays out as I name the cards. I’m using the Muse Tarot for this reading.

  1. What quirks can I embrace? 5 of Emotions. (5 of Cups). A woman dressed in black and blue is surrounded by what looks like shards of ice. A Moon is on her chest. The meaning of the card is a woman distanced from her emotions. The world grown cold and hard. A frozen tear on the cheek. It’s easy to feel numb and sterile. This is a herald to feel into the emotions to prompt healing. Embracing my quirks? Time to talk about how I don’t feel, and have always struggled to feel in the moment. Okay. I can do that.
  2. How can I be more expressive? The Fool. A girl stepping forward into mid-air. The big leap of faith. When it comes to expressing myself, trust that it will be all okay if I talk about the hard stuff, as prompted by the previous card.
  3. What is my ideal world? 3 of Inspiration. Progress, expansion of ideas, dreams on the horizon, looking ahead, clear ambitions and goals. Staying true to my vision, and taking small and firm steps towards my dreams. I thought I had put all that aside, even though I feel much more alive when I’m pursuing dreams. I don’t have any dreams and ambitions that light me up. Is my ideal world to just keep on climbing, tick off one thing after another? To what purpose? Yes, the dominoes can keep falling as I do one thing after another, but why? What is the bigger vision here? This card tells me I don’t have one.
  4. How can I inspire others? Temperance. Temperance? Temperance! Harmony, balance, avoiding excess, taming that impulsive ‘load it all on’ nature of mine. Slow and steady. Finding purpose, the Goldilocks zone, turning a real life situation into spiritual growth, patience. How does this inspire others? Are my ongoing struggles with doing too much and then easing back, how I moderate my calendar etc something that others can learn from? Because I can’t think of any other way that tempering myself is inspirational.

Guidance For Magical Folx – 25 July – 31 July 2021

With the Full Moon in Aquarius happening in Australia yesterday, I guess I could say that both the Full Moon energy is still strong so work that Full Moon magic, and that officially, the Moon is now waning towards dark, still in Aquarius.

Aquarian energy: for the greater good, the needs of the few or the many outweighing the needs of the one, community, wanting to make the world better, inspirational, new thought, the Age of Aquarius.

By the end of the week, the waning moon will have moved through Pisces and Aries, and be in Taurus. So we move from cool Air energy, through Watery boundless Pisces, into the spark from the fire Aries, and into the immovable Earth energy of Taurus. I’d say ‘quite the journey’ but something similar happens every week, as the Moon moves through several signs.

Watch people around you. How are they acting, according to where the Moon is?

This week, I’m pulling a card from the Cat’s Eye Tarot: 3 of Pentacles. This is our guidance for the week ahead. It speaks to teamwork, cooperation, planning, and competence. Traditionally, in the Waite-Smith Tarot, upon which this deck is based, it’s the apprenticeship card. It’s time to examine how and where you are learning your information, and where in life you feel like an apprentice. For example: even though I’m a practiced and practicing witch, I feel like I’m beginning over as I do a deeper dive into study and experimentation. I am actively seeking a mentor, even as I offer my own wisdom and experience to newer witches.

Magical Folx, where are you in collaboration and cooperation with the community? What can you offer, and what are you receiving? Where are you the apprentice, or where can you apprentice yourself in service to the greater community, whilst keeping on with your own learning? See yourself, even as a solitary practitioner, as part of the colony/community.

By the end of next week, the Moon will be in Taurus, which is the energy of the Mother, nurturing, comfort, luxury, good food, pleasure, spoiling yourself. In the name of apprenticeship, learning, and service, what can you do to nurture yourself, so that you come to your community the best you can be? With the cat with the mouse in its mouth, it could be an examination of how and what you’re eating. It could be a glorious bath(but perhaps hold off on getting someone to wash you with their tongue, unless that’s your thing).

Have a magnificent week, Magical Folx, and I’ll see you next week for more Guidance.

Poem – Halfway

Behind me, the road

of chocolate.

Ahead of me, the road

of carrot sticks and celery.

Me, here at the weigh station.

*****

This small poem came from a prompt from Poets and Storytellers United, to use the concept or words ‘way station’ in a piece of writing.

I am not dieting, but probably should cut back on the chocolate. Toddler mind screams: I’ve got to have SOMETHING!