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Coping During COVID

I would like to believe that I am unique and unaffected by the over-culture ‘out there’. I would like that to be true, but I have found that I am far more affected by what is going on in society than I want to be. I am not so invested in the over-culture that I obsess over new fashions or ways to stay looking younger than I am, which seem to be the only thing ‘they’ are selling, but I am affected none-the-less. I think I have had low-grade depression since our lives were disrupted by COVID. I stay up too late, sleep late, or more likely, get less sleep than I need or should and then feel tired and unmotivated. I have not been exercising and have gained weight which really makes me uncomfortable and then more depressed. It is a vicious circle and cycle I seem to get caught in.

In spite of frequent Zoom calls with friends (weekly knit circle Zooms and infrequent ‘coffee’ Zooms with friends), monthly (or more) Zoom meetings for three separate organizations, twice monthly Zooms with my Coven, twice monthly Class facilitator Google Meets for a local organization, and plenty of ‘work’ to keep me busy, even in my retirement, I notice I have a high level of anxiety. My neck and shoulders are tense, and I feel like I am behind in my commitments, even when I am not.

Being busy, in itself, is not so different. I have always been a ‘joiner’ and before COVID was very busy with all that I am involved in. I am the Secretary for my Local Knitting Guild, the President of my all-volunteer Neighborhood Association, the Recorder/Secretary for a National Organization of Witches, and the Webweaver/website creator and public class facilitator for my local Council of Witches. This is the ‘work’ I refer to. I am also a High Priestess to a Coven of six beautiful women who have been struggling with much the same feelings of anxiety and depression or other mental illnesses since this all began. All these commitments are still present but now all the activity has moved online.

This might be part of the problem. Too much online is never good for a body or mind.

I am also a maker. I knit and crochet and make gifts and want to do something creative every day. And even though I find much satisfaction in creating, it does not seem to work out my anxiety or stress. I still enjoy it and have even been reading a little more than I did before COVID and I really enjoy this too, but again, the only thing that seems to work out the anxiety is hard, physical labor. And there is only so many things to do around the house. Once I was done painting the ceiling beams on my deck, building a gigantic new kidney-shaped garden in my front lawn, emptying, turning over the dirt and refilling with new dirt in all my back gardens, replanting, repairing, and replacing my gardens and garden art, tiling and painting different pieces of furniture in my house, and tiling two cupboards and shelves outside, there wasn’t much left to do. I’ve threatened to repaint my large master bedroom, just for something to do, but really don’t want to.

My life does seem to be full of ‘shoulds’. I should be sleeping more, exercising more, drinking less, eating less, and being more productive. Can I blame this on my upbringing in the Calvinistic Mormonism that prides works and productivity more than anything? Perhaps, but it somehow feels different during COVID.

This is why I feel I am not coping as well as I should be.

I have a wonderful partner so am not without human contact, but I do miss contact with my friends and family. I’m also reminded often how fortunate I am to be where I am in life and to have all I do. Even just writing this shows me what I am still keeping up with and all that I have accomplished. I do love to accomplish things… So perhaps I am coping better than I think I am, but it all feels off somehow. I hope this is not the new normal.

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via CoG expresses concern for community over COVID-19

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December 30, 2018 Winter Solstice Divination for 2019

As I’ve done in years past, (though I am not always consistent), here is my reading for 2019 that was done at the end of 2018.

I used 4 Decks to answer 3 questions. Links to the decks are at the bottom.

  • The Gaian Tarot (GT) by Joanna Powell-Colbert
  • Siren’s Song Lenormand (SSL) by Carrie Paris
  • Froud Faeries Oracle (FF) by Brian Froud with text by Jessica Macbeth
  • Lucky Lenormand (LL) by Monica Bodirsky

The Questions (these may have come from Joanna Powell-Colbert from a course she was offering – I can’t remember now!):

  1. What do I need to leave behind in the Darkness?
  2. What is the calling of my Soul?
  3. What am I being called to do?

Question 1 – What do I need to leave behind in the Darkness?

GT – Guardian of Air – (Queen) Guardian is Protecting and Nurturing the Community. Air is Clarity. Cut through to the truth, even if it hurts. Time to speak the truth, loudly, boldly and with integrity. I declare my own truth with candor and clarity.

SSL – #18 Dog – 10 of hearts – Trustworthiness, companionship, loyalty, reliability, and devotion.

FF – #18 Lady of Harvest – One of the Sidhe – Completion. Greif. Loss. Harvest. Release. Accept change and move on to the next phase.

LL – #37 Lantern – The extra card! Lenormand Decks have only 36 cards, so this may be the Lucky extra. Light my path? Show me the way? A Light in a Dark place?


Leave behind my tendency to see only what I want to and face the ugly truth.

Leave behind my loyalty to those who don’t deserve it. Lose them.

Leave behind my grief and release those that cause me pain. It is done.

Leave behind my desire for only the light and embrace the Sacred Dark. I carry a Lantern to show me the way.

Question 2 – What is the calling of my Soul?

GT – #4 The Builder – (The Emperor) Structure, Boundaries, Foundation. Embrace my authority. Be a leader. I wield my power with wisdom, based on discipline, knowledge, and respect for All That Is.

SSL – #22 Crossroads – Queen of Diamonds – Decisions, options, alternatives, choices, a turning point.

FF – #43 – Geeeeeooo the Slooow – One of the Help Line Troupe – Cycles of time. Slowness. Waiting. Patience. The situation is one that cannot be hurried. Set a pace that can be maintained.

LL – #21 Mountain – 8 of Clubs – An impasse or a challenge. Close to me is an obstacle, far away it is an ally.


Calling is to build strong foundations and take the long view as an ethical and wise leader.

Calling is to consider the alternatives and options at this Crossroad.

Calling is to be patient with the process and allow the cycle the time it needs.

Calling is to overcome challenges. Climb the damn mountain.

Question 3 – What am I being called to do?

GT – Elder of Air – (King) Holding Wisdom, Giving Counsel. Elder of Air offers gifts of inspiration, balance, and clarity. Make ethical decisions that are fair to all. Experience communion with the Divine through worship, praise, or meditation. I am a song of peace and healing for the world.

SSL – #13 Child – Jack of Spades – New starts, little pleasures, innocence, immaturity, novice, something small or something minor.

FF – #57 Luathas the Wild – One of the Faery Challengers – Haste. Impulsiveness. Fire. Spontaneity. Balance. Wild creative energies are being brought to what I am called to do. Can fire up things around it too. New approaches are called for. The old ideas and behaviors won’t do.

LL – #20 Garden – 8 of Spades – Socializing, networking, garden, positive space for growth.


Being called to offer wisdom and create sacred space where enlightenment is possible.

Being called to experience small pleasures like a little child.

Being called to allow the wild energies to bring new ideas and approaches.

Being called to build a positive and healthy space to encourage growth for everyone.


Now that 2019 is over, I can look back at this reading and gauge how accurate it was. WOW!

I didn’t know it at the time, of course, but when I drew these cards at the end of the year, I was being betrayed by someone I had loved dearly and considered a friend and ally. So, the first question about what I should leave behind was eerily accurate regarding the grief that would come later and how I should leave behind those that were causing me pain. My loyalties were misplaced.

Regarding the question about the Calling of my Soul was also astoundingly accurate. Due, in part, by the betrayal and other equally horrible events that occurred, I decided to leave my old Tradition. I had already determined that I would build a new Tradition, and I did and am STILL working on it, but at the time, I had not decided whether I would also leave my old Tradition. I could have kept the old and built the new too. Unbeknown to me though, I was at a Crossroad, and I would end up choosing to leave behind the old and build the new. Everything for the rest of the year has been all about my new Path. I have been very patient, taking my time and seriously considering what it is I want me and my Coven to experience.

I am not sure whether the things I was called to do would not have been things I might have done anyway, but working on a new Witchcraft Tradition, being High Priestess to an awesome Coven, teaching public classes, and performing public rituals, as well as ministering to those who seek me out is what I did this year. I still get excited by the sight of a beautiful sunset or sunrise or a beautiful sky and take great pleasure in that. I also attended events that gave me a whole new approach to ritual, magic, and the Divine. So I did do what I was called to do (but I may have done that anyway)!

All, in all, the reading was very accurate, which is worrisome because the cards I just pulled for 2020 have some hard aspects in them! We shall see!

Both of the Lenormand Decks are sold out, but the Gaian Tarot and Froud Faeries Oracle are available. Click to see the decks:





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Rumour was loose in the air
hunting for some neck to land on.
I was milking the cow,
the barn door open to the sunset.

I didn’t feel the aimed word hit
and go in like a soft bullet.
I didn’t feel the smashed flesh
closing over it like water
over a thrown stone.

I was hanged for living alone
for having blue eyes and a sunburned skin,
tattered skirts, few buttons,
a weedy farm in my own name,
and a surefire cure for warts;

Oh yes, and breasts,
and a sweet pear hidden in my body.
Whenever there’s talk of demons
these come in handy.



The rope was an improvisation.
With time they’d have thought of axes.

Up I go like a windfall in reverse,
a blackend apple stuck back onto the tree.

Trussed hands, rag in my mouth,
a flag raised to salute the moon,

old bone-faced goddess, old original,
who once took blood in return for food.

The men of the town stalk homeward,
excited by their show of hate,

their own evil turned inside out like a glove,
and me wearing it.



The bonnets come to stare,
the dark skirts also,
the upturned faces in between,
mouths closed so tight they’re lipless.
I can see down into their eyeholes
and nostrils. I can see their fear.

You were my friend, you too.
I cured your baby, Mrs.,
and flushed yours out of you,
Non-wife, to save your life.

Help me down? You don’t dare.
I might rub off on you,
like soot or gossip. Birds
of a feather burn together,
though as a rule ravens are singular.

In a gathering like this one
the safe place is the background,
pretending you can’t dance,
the safe stance pointing a finger.

I understand. You can’t spare
anything, a hand, a piece of bread, a shawl
against the cold,
a good word. Lord
knows there isn’t much
to go around. You need it all.



Well God, now that I’m up here
with maybe some time to kill
away from the daily
fingerwork, legwork, work
at the hen level,
we can continue our quarrel,
the one about free will.

Is it my choice that I’m dangling
like a turkey’s wattles from his
more then indifferent tree?
If Nature is Your alphabet,
what letter is this rope?

Does my twisting body spell out Grace?
I hurt, therefore I am.
Faith, Charity, and Hope
are three dead angels
falling like meteors or
burning owls across
the profound blank sky of Your face.


12 midnight 

My throat is taut against the rope
choking off words and air;
I’m reduced to knotted muscle.
Blood bulges in my skull,
my clenched teeth hold it in;
I bite down on despair

Death sits on my shoulder like a crow
waiting for my squeezed beet
of a heart to burst
so he can eat my eyes

or like a judge
muttering about sluts and punishment
and licking his lips

or like a dark angel
insidious in his glossy feathers
whispering to me to be easy
on myself. To breathe out finally.
Trust me, he says, caressing
me. Why suffer?

A temptation, to sink down
into these definitions.
To become a martyr in reverse,
or food, or trash.

To give up my own words for myself,

my own refusals.

To give up knowing.
To give up pain.
To let go.


2 a.m.

Out of my mouths is coming, at some
distance from me, a thin gnawing sound
which you could confuse with prayer except that
praying is not constrained.

Or is it, Lord?
Maybe it’s more like being strangled
than I once thought. Maybe it’s
a gasp for air, prayer.
Did those men at Pentecost
want flames to shoot out of their heads?
Did they ask to be tossed
on the ground, gabbling like holy poultry,
eyeballs bulging?

As mine are, as mine are.
There is only one prayer; it is not
the knees in the clean nightgown
on the hooked rug.
I want this, I want that.
Oh far beyond.
Call it Please. Call it Mercy.
Call it Not yet, not yet,
as Heaven threatens to explode
inwards in fire and shredded flesh, and the angels caw.


3 a.m.

wind seethes in the leaves around
me the trees exude night
birds night birds yell inside
my ears like stabbed hearts my heart
stutters in my fluttering cloth
body I dangle with strength
going out of the wind seethes
in my body tattering
the words I clench
my fists hold No
talisman or silver disc my lungs
flail as if drowning I call
on you as witness I did
no crime I was born I have borne I
bear I will be born this is
a crime I will not
acknowledge leaves and wind
hold on to me
I will not give in


6 a.m.

Sun comes up, huge and blaring,
no longer a simile for God.
Wrong address. I’ve been out there.

Time is relative, let me tell you
I have lived a millennium.

I would like to say my hair turned white
overnight, but it didn’t.
Instead it was my heart;
bleached out like meat in water.

Also, I’m about three inches taller.
This is what happens when you drift in space
listening to the gospel
of the red hot stars.
Pinpoints of infinity riddle my brain,
a revelation of deafness.

At the end of my rope
I testify to silence.
Don’t say I’m not grateful.

Most will only have one death.
I will have two.


8 a.m.

When they came to harvest my corpse
(open your mouth, close your eyes)
cut my body from the rope,
surprise, surprise,
I was still alive.

Tough luck, folks,
I know the law:
you can’t execute me twice
for the same thing. How nice.

I fell to the clover, breathed it in,
and bared my teeth at them
in a filthy grin.
You can imagine how that went over.

Now I only need to look
out at them through my sky-blue eyes.
They see their own ill will
staring them in the forehead
and turn tail.

Before, I was not a witch.
But now I am one.



My body of skin waxes and wanes
around my true body,
a tender nimbus.
I skitter over the paths and fields,
mumbling to myself like crazy,
mouth full of juicy adjectives
and purple berries.
The townsfolk dive headfirst into the bushes
to get out of my way.

My first death orbits my head,
an ambiguous nimbus,
medallion of my ordeal.
No one crosses that circle.

Having been hanged for something
I never said,
I can now say anything I can say.

Holiness gleams on my dirty fingers,
I eat flowers and dung,,
two forms of the same thing, I eat mice
and give thanks, blasphemies
gleam and burst in my wake
like lovely bubbles.
I speak in tongues,
my audience is owls.

My audience is God,
because who the hell else could understand me?

The words boil out of me,
coil after coil of sinuous possibility.
The cosmos unravels from my mouth,
all fullness, all vacancy.


Click to access _half_hanged_mary.pdf

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There is some indescribable place inside me that is emotionally stirred by the sight of clouds on a not-quite-rainy evening.

The dark swirling into the light. The foggy grays that shine like rainbow moonstone with the setting sun behind them. A peek of light at the horizon beneath the blanket of storm. Heavy, lowering, but not menacing.

It is almost a Northern sky, but not yet intense enough.

I once spent an entire three-week vacation in the wilds of Scotland photographing the Northern skies. Trying to capture the unattainable essence of light and color and shadow. Yet… the photos, beautiful as they are, do not stir in me the feelings I felt while under those Northern skies.

The feeling that water was near, that sunshine was slanted, that color was redefined. The knowing that there was a language I didn’t speak in those clouds. An understanding that light was something new I had never encountered, but could feel in my bones. I could imagine a painter trying to capture life in that light. Trying, but never succeeding.

Perhaps those Northern skies stir a bone-deep memory in me from a time when my ancestors would have been in communication with the sky as they were with the land. Reading the messages in nature. Knowing the language of time.

Were they perhaps enthralled by the sight of clouds, as I am?



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