From the Wild Unknown Tarot
This weekend is another new moon.
I read that Native Americans of the Central Plains, Nebraska, call this ‘the moon when the geese come home’, which stirred my soul a little. Next week, I’m finally getting a tattoo I’ve been planning for, ooh, at least two years: A pair of geese, in flight.
The resemblance to the Wild Unknown Tarot’s Lovers card (though it is a beauty) is coincidental. Originally, this was a celebration of life on the water. I used to live on a narrowboat on the Rochdale canal, where Candada geese are prolific (and very noisy). These big, strong birds are bolshy and rude, they hiss if you get too close, and many’s the time I’ve seen a towpath walker decide against crossing their path. But they’ll also honk and flap and tap on your boat for attention. I loved them.
When I moved my boat to central Manchester, I was overjoyed to find that I would be sharing my home with big colony of Canada geese. These non-migratory birds lived at the marina all year long. One of my favourite memories of boat life is sitting on the roof with a cider on a summer’s evening, watching the birds come home, a flock from the east, then a flock from the west, then more, and more, all calling to each other and making the most awful racket before settling in for the night.
Moving to Skye has taught me more about geese. I didn’t know they lived in coastal areas (though it seems obvious now)! Here, wild Barnacle geese abound (on Lewis, they are considered such a pest to farmers, they are annually culled.) Seeing them arrive, suddenly, on the beach at Achnacloich last September again made my heart sing. I felt as though a friend had returned to me.
Geese mate for life.
Perhaps this is why Kim Krans chose them for her Lovers card. On the morning of our honeymoon, Em and I awoke beside the moortop reservoir where we’d camped and swum the night before. It was early. The supermoon was still high in the pink-gold sky. A flock of Canada geese flew by, and it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. A moment of sheer peace, contentment, and happiness.
Then of course, there is Mary Oliver’s well-known and much-loved poem, Wild Geese. Nothing I have read has put the world’s wish for you to simply be so beautifully, so perfectly. It’s a poem that I read often.
And they’re strong – so very strong – and tough as old boots. Their migratory patterns vary: sone travel the short distance from northern Scotland to eastern England each year. Snow geese breed in the Arctic tundra and winter in north America. Barnacle geese (the kind my tattoo depicts) move between the Hebrides and their summer breeding grounds in Greenland.
To me, the goose represents movement, but also homecoming (a lot like the darting swallows that already cover my arms). It represents freedom, but familiarity, the having of roots…and the ability to head elsewhere.
In our ongoing search for a long-term home, a place to root, a base from which to travel and return, a place in which to invest energy, to plant seeds, to grow and become and learn, the goose has become all the more beautiful to me.
There you see a flock of geese, I heard they mate for life
And no one tells them where to go
They just up and fly, someone tell her where to go
Where she can give it another try
A soul who has no home, she’s got a lot to say
A soul who floats around, overland today
Sarah Dougher, ‘Everywhere West’
But enough about geese! Here’s the best of February’s web…
Let’s begin with a song from Kelsey Lu. Hit play! (If you’re reading this via email, click through for the music player).
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See the Cripple Dance: Witchcraft for crazy people | I’m so excited that Maranda Elizabeth has joined our brilliant little team! Their fortnightly column will explore the intersections of magic and disability.
Asali shared a beautiful altar-creating ritual for celebrating self love.
Three exercises for building resilience | Corina Dross has this super-helpful resource for staying grounded and resilient.
What we do is secret | Thoughts on 1978’s Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture.
Lisa Stupart’s Spells make my heart sing | Try these at home!
Here’s a tarot spread for the new moon in Pisces plus, if you wanna go deeper with this sign, an introduction to dream work, from Ethony.
Tarot just bitch slapped me about my upper limit problems | Great post from Carrie Mallon about how much ‘good stuff’ we think we deserve (and also that frustrating feeling of not ‘getting’ a tarot reading right away.)
Jailbreaking consciousness with Lasara Firefox Allen | A brilliant and insightful interview with the author of one of my favourite books on feminist spirituality. Reclaim the goddess, decolonise your practice! (Psst: Jailbreaking the Goddess is right here in my shop.)
This is how it feels to be free | On basing your activism in love, not hate.
Tarot Bytes is Theresa Reed’s neat mini tarot podcast. Each episode delivers a handy, accessible tarot lesson in about 10 minutes. Brilliant!
How these queer artists are reinventing tarot cards | Featuring Trung Nguyen and yours truly!
Black witch resources: Getting started | First steps suggestions for Black folks who want to explore witchcraft, from Donyae Coles.
Dawtas of the Moon | A coven and convention for women of colour.
What is a witch? | Three practicing witches tell us about their identities.
White Women: This Is Why Your Critiques Of Beyoncé Are Racist | *Banging head on table*
Here’s what I learned about myself after a year in therapy | I love the frank way this is written.
Image by Rebecca Hendin, via BuzzFeed
Andi Grace has a beautiful new website! Call-out culture and being “too much”, is a powerful piece that explores both the importance of finding your voice and taking up space, and the way this intersects with privilege, guilt and responsibility.
i told her I’ve been told more times than i can count that i take up too much space. that I’m too loud and too much. and now she’s telling me to take up more space.
what kind of cruel joke was this?
Like mixtapes? This one features genius covers by awesome DIY bands (my friends in Faggot covered Katy Perry and it’s brilliant, see also Bikini Kill, Hole, Christine and the Queens…) and it raises funds for mental health charity Mind. (If you don’t have a tape player don’t worry, it also includes a MP3 download.)
Yikes, thats enough I think! This weekend I’m travelling down to Derbyshire for a relaxing week with Emma’s family (and that tattoo appointment!)
Whatever you’re up to, enjoy the moon, enjoy the weekend, enjoy your self.
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.