Moon and Salt Water

On the eve of my 37th birthday, on this hottest recorded day in my city, on this new moon – a tarot spread and a candle and a crystal and a mirror for reflection.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Isak Dinesen quote, ‘the cure for everything is salt water; sweat, tears, or the sea.’

I’ve been thinking about ecological grief. How we sweat in the new temperatures, how we cry for what we’ve lost and will lose, how we are killing the oceans. Not the cure, but a necessary invitation into knowing the illness. Naming it. Making space for it. Salt water selves. Salt water solace. Salt water sadness.

Stasha pointed out how Tahlequah and her dead baby are all three, also. The effort, the grief, the ocean and the ocean of loss.

I am usually all about my birthday. In the past, I’ve planned a whole week of adventures and joyful connections. I’ve gone on retreats, or hosted theme parties, or booked a hotel room, or gone out to a club.

I haven’t been feeling it this year. I didn’t have any plans until this afternoon, when my sister pulled together a little dinner. I’ve been sad. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed.

But today I had a tender conversation with my beloved Stasha, and another with my beloved Nathan, and with my sister, and with Scott, and spent time with Joe and with other humans of various sizes, and I am ready for my birthday now. I’m ready for this coming year. 

Nathan and I talked about how powerful it is that the moon is new, and there is a lunar eclipse, and the moon is so strong in my chart – so I’m thinking about how to focus on the moon this year. How to invite that energy in, and find my way through it.

I’m looking forward to this.

I am ready for my Moon and Salt Water year.

My birthday spread. (The spread is from Beth Maiden’s Little Red Tarot Spreads, and the deck is The Darkness of Light.)

1. What to leave behind. Ten of Blades. The melodrama, maybe even the martyrdom, but also the crushing despair.

2. A lesson learned last year, to carry into the next. Five of Cups. I love this card, and its invitation to mourn what needs to be mourned, to recognize what needs to be grieved and to honour it, and also to recognize what cups are still full.

3. The next thing you will learn. Eight of Wands. Energy, forward movement, action! Endings, and also beginnings.

4. The theme for the year ahead. Ace of Coins. I find this card so hopeful, particularly when I read it through Cassandra Snow’s lens. “[W]ith a queer Ace of Pentacles we see an aspect of the card that we haven’t before: healing from past trauma and moving forward confidently, even if the manifestation of that is material and worldly.”

5 and 6. Something to celebrate, something to do. Page of Coins and La Stella. Begin! Strike out on an adventure! Bring hope to the beginning!

7. A message from ancestors. Three of Cups. I need community. And specifically, I need community when it comes to my magic and spiritual practice.

Solistice Magic: Justice and Hope

Image description: A three card spread. Knight of Blades, La Stella, Six of Blades. The Darkness of Light Tarot deck is in the top right.

Yesterday, in the northern hemisphere, where I am, it was Litha – the Summer Solstice, the longest day. It was also Indigenous People’s Day.

I live and work on Treaty 7 land, with white and settler privilege. Yesterday, I travelled through Suquamish and Duwamish land, and arrived on Nisenan and Plains Miwok land, where I’ll be staying for a week. When I travel to the teaching blocks in my Masters of Narrative Therapy program, I stay on Kaurna land.

All of these lands are Indigenous lands. All of these lands are colonized and the project of colonization is ongoing. We are all part of this project. We all have a duty to resist the ongoing project of colonization, to bring an intentionally anti-colonial lens to our work, to be willing to fuck it up and be called out and learn and do better. Indigenous liberation is necessary.

Indigenous people have been resisting colonization since it began. They have persisted despite the incredible violence and injustice that they’ve suffered. Colonization is not merely historical – it is ongoing and happening now – but that is also true of Indigenous resistance. It is ongoing, and happening now.

I am so thankful for the Indigenous writers, activists, and organizers who have helped me learn. And I have so much more to keep learning.

This spread is adapted from the Solstice questions in the Many Moons Workbook. The questions are:

1 – In what ways am I magic?

2 – How can I fold magic into my everyday life?

3 – What am I manifesting with my actions and intentions?

I pulled these cards thinking about both the Solstice and Indigenous People’s Day. I was thinking about justice and injustice, and about hope. I chose the Darkness of Light tarot for this spread because of the ongoingness of the struggle – that there is always some light in the darkness, and there is always darkness present.

In the first position is the Knight of Blades. How are we magic? From the deck guidebook – “[T]he Knight of Blades represents survival.” The keywords are: Survival, necessity, focus, travel, preparation, protection, reality. In this card, I can see the survival and focus of communities who have resisted injustice for generations. I also see an invitation to find our own internal connection to this Knight’s energy, and work for the survival of ourselves and each other.

In the second position: La Stella, The Star. Hope. Renewal. Caring. Healing. How can we fold magic into our everyday lives? We can cultivate hope. We can focus on renewal – ourselves and each other. In the guidebook, the creator of the deck says that the eight points on the Star gesture back to the eighth card in the Major Arcana – Strength. There is strength in hope. To quote Rebecca Solnit, “Do your best to encourage, not with false cheer but with fierce commitment.” This is a kind of daily magic that is hopeful, healing, caring, compassionate, but does not demand that we pretend things are easier than they are. Fierce hope. Strong hope.

In the final position, the Six of Blades. Travelling to a new space. There is not a lot of certainty in the Six of Blades; the guidebook says, “The Six of Blades represents the exploration of a new frontier… The birds guide her from their vantage point, but simultaneously circle looking for death, symbolizing the consistent specter of danger in the unknown. The mountains ahead are mysterious and dense, and, due to their obfuscation, could harbor either a positive or negative future. Escape, evacuation, travel, exploration, danger, transition.” But what we are manifesting with our hopeful survival magic is the movement forward.

I think that we can help create a positive future by staying connected to our strong sense of justice, by remaining conscious of power and how it operates in our lives and through our actions, by listening to those people who are more or differently marginalized than we are ourselves.

In this land currently called Canada, we are all treaty people. Across this globe, we are all tangled up in this project of colonization, and we make choices every day about how we sit within the tangle.

Let’s use our Blades to cut through it.

Let’s use our Starlight to illuminate the path.

Let’s stay focused on justice.