HOW NOW MERCURIAL COW

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Hello hello, I’m Tango.     philosopher. astrologer. witch.

My love for all things academic matched with a deep disdain for modern academia has led me out of Hell and into my own personal Wonderland. It’s been a process of shedding the scientist to reveal the philosopher underneath, the witch that 12-year-old me predicted and 22-year-old me never saw coming.

This blog is where I shall practice organizing words into sentences and paragraphs, while giving space to my auto-didactic tendencies and probably, like, some feelings.

[Header art by the glorious MJ Goebel.]

thoughts on ‘seeing is believing’

I love astrologer Caroline W. Casey’s advice, “Believe nothing, entertain possibilities.” Love it. LOVE. IT. Recently, this idea has been bringing to mind the phrase “seeing is believing”. (Yes dear reader, I am indeed profoundly fond of aphorisms, thanks for noticing.)

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Now follow me down this side-path for just a moment:

Have you ever head the phrase “curiosity killed the cat”? If so, it was likely within the context of trying to dissuade a curious person – as in, don’t be a fool. Well actually, the full phrase goes more like, “curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought it back”. (This connects to the cats-having-nine-lives thing and is vaguely alchemical, but anyway!) So basically, this saying was intended to encourage curiosity – not extinguish it. This is a lovely example of humanity’s game of Telephone. So please, let’s all be Fool’s and try not to take everything so seriously.

Back to our regularly scheduled (hahaha jk) programming:

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The meaning behind ‘seeing is believing’ can swing in polar directions. You have the capitalist empiricist version which is all about what the eyeballs are capable of perceiving, what the hands are capable of physically touching – all about concrete, re-producible proof. In this way, all critical thinking and spiritual meaning is null and void. If you see it, there it is, no argument, piece of cake, that’s reality, bam done. In this way, ‘seeing is believing’ smashes the multi-dimensionality of existence & experience into a flat pancake of unquestionableness.

However, this phrase can also take on a powerfully philosophical and spiritual meaning. Seeing pertains to the eyeballs & brain when taken directly and concretely – but language is oh so much more than that, and so is the concept of seeing. Think of when someone explains a riddle to you, and your response is “Oh, I see!”

Seeing can refer to understanding, comprehending, realizing, ‘putting two and two together’. Taken with this broader idea of seeing, the phrase ‘seeing is believing’ refers to a critically-questioned spirituality and/or personal philosophy. Instead of swallowing scripture dogmatically, this is the process of “entertaining possibility”, this is taking a spiritual lesson and testing it in the fires of experience to really see how it works. Only after seeing, after personally experiencing, do you truly believe – like, in opposition to blind faith.

In this way, instead of tacitly agreeing with how others explain life, “seeing is believing” encourages a questioning outlook where life is a series of adventures to be tasted and tested and navigated via our own [personal, unique, intersectional] sight.

 

Morning thoughts on Mercury

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Oh Mercury, sitting in my 7th house, sitting in my shadow. You activate around others, around partners. But I need you when I call you. Can I be my own other? Can I be my own partner? You sit there in steady-as-she-goes Taurus, whispering visions of beauty in my ear – but not allowing them to pour from my mouth – somehow both calming & teasing my solar Gem tendencies. I must swallow all your tasty morsels, sharing your sweets with only my sweetheart. I can’t live like this.

I can’t live for only one other. I live for myself. And all others are a part of the one. I love them, but I do not live for them. Oh Mercury, let’s make our own partnership. Let’s build our bond. When I integrate my shadow, I’m confident you will be there. I’m confident we will dance. Once you’re permanently housed in my throat, your nectar ever-seeping from my lips and fingertips, then our every movement will be the fluid step of a grand dance. I can spread my web where ever I desire, not just in this dreamscape of duality.

Parker’s comment on Mercury aspecting Pluto: “If Mercury and Pluto are personal planets, the need to explore the self will be just as powerful as with the conjunction, but a result may be more easily achieved.” Mercury and Pluto are my ruling planets. And they’re opposed. And I love them both dearly. Their conversation fuels my introspective Cap Moon, who sits in fluid aspect to both, absorbing all their juicy dialogue.

The dialectic is frustrating, though. It’s like tumbling down a mountain, rolling rolling, head over feet – I find myself, I lose myself, I find myself, I lose myself. I know my self, I re-invent myself, I know myself, I destroy that self.

Thankfully, everything is relative. Mercury & Pluto have taught me that creation and destruction are the same thing from different perspectives. I am just as much the same as I am different, but I would like to be just as much whole as I am fragmented.

vacationing with queers

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My friend Thax vacationed on the boat this past month. If you add up all the time we spent talking, it would probably consist of an entire week. Every conversation hovered near or on: queerness, anti-capitalism, wholeness/duality, consciousness raising, feminism, prison abolition, trans/misogyny, astrology, or tarot – usually a combination.

Thax is family to me.

Since they left, I’ve been busy planning my own vacation! I’ve also been drafting a couple writing projects, working on fishing preparations with my partner, playing with wildcrafted tea combinations, and developing my grounding abilities by making art (mini terrariums, collages, pocket altars, personalized walking stick).

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My vacation will mostly be spent in Tennessee, and I’m positive the sunburn I return to Alaska with will be well worth it. The plan is to visit chosen family before & after attending an epic gathering of queers for a 5-day music festival lovingly named the Idapalooza Fruit Jam. Delicious.

Planning this vacation has been both thrilling & stressful (I see all y’all retrograding out there). Thankfully, I have epic friends. They know what resources best aid my chronic pain and have already acquired them in preparation for my arrival. And I’m eternally grateful, because 12 hours of airplanes and ports will bring on a migraine if not full body joint pain. Score.

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On a different note, my partner and I have been playing more and more music together. Neither of us has much experience playing with others – actually it makes both of us really anxious – but playing with each other is like a whole new facet of intimacy & creativity we’ve stumbled upon. Her old recording equipment is broken, so after this fishing season we’re going to invest in something new. I hope to find a good piece of software & a USB mic, so I don’t have to worry about plugging anything into the 12-volt system on the boat. We don’t want another toaster incident…

I’m still bubbling with excitement about my recent past (love you, Thax!), I’m up to my chin in good vibes surrounding my present, and I’m squealingly pumped for my upcoming future. It all tastes so good, I could cry.

picking flowers, picking brains

I’ve been regularly foraging this month, shifting my studies from mind to hands, from abstract to concrete. It’s been tenderly fulfilling. Dandelions. Violets. Salmonberry, huckleberry, and blueberry leaves. Groundsel. Fiddleheads. Yarrow. I’d mostly been experimenting with teas & poultices until my friend Thax (who’s staying on our little boat for a month) encouraged me to cook with them: salad, pizza, soup, stir fry. We really want to experiment with pesto next. I know there’s comfrey, nettles, and chickweed to be found in the area as well, but I haven’t found it/been drawn to it yet. Which honestly, is probably for the best, since I’m prone to overloading myself on information.

Thax has been here about a week now, and they’ve really been helping me put all my thoughts & feelings together surrounding a piece I’m drafting about the archetypes of ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’. My swirling web of notes, connections, and revelations on the topic expanded via critical discussion (where we both got overly excited, started talking really fast). Bloated and overwhelming, my web finally exploded, leaving a palatable & accessible core, which I can use to move on to the next stage. Huzzah!

The three days leading up to the full moon in Scorpio were sunny & dry, priming all the beach wood for an epic bonfire. We ceremoniously burned our recently-removed mizzen mast, celebrating both the Ebb & Flow’s beautiful past and bright future. The moon put on a dazzling light show from behind the clouds whilst rising, stepping forth from behind the curtain only once directly overhead. Oh so mystical, oh so Scorpio.

thoughts on ‘just for today’

Some reiki practices meditate on these five principles:

  1. Just for today, I will not worry / I will trust.
  2. Just for today, I will not anger / I will love.
  3. Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
  4. Just for today, I will be grateful for my many blessings.
  5. Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbors and all living beings.

Trust, love, integrity, appreciation, kindness–got it. But why, “just for today”?

I connected the idea back to a self-help book I read recently called Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. I came by the book in a weird meandering way; it’s not something I would normally spend my time with. But I’m glad I read it.

It’s a habit-forming system based on “stupid small” steps. Want to form a habit of exercising 30 minutes a day? Start with a mini habit of one push-up a day. Want to form a habit of writing 2000 words a day? Start with a mini habit of 50 words a day.

The author goes into the science of goals and motivation and self-esteem and whatnot. By keeping the daily goal “stupid small”, failure isn’t an option (and you’re even likely to do “bonus reps”). In other words, every day is a success. He doesn’t come out and say this, but basically, it sounds like building a positive emotional foundation allows the mental and physical to follow.

It’s hard to be kind to everyone at every moment. It’s difficult to maintain constant integrity. It takes training to never spark to anger and practice to remain ever grateful. So when bringing these principles into your life, it’s helpful to take small steps. Start with just today.

The reiki principles are like moral mini habits.

Failure is still an option here, but I’d rather fail at not being kind today than not being a kind person. Instead of aiming to transform yourself into some pure archetype, and instead of running away and drowning your sorrows when you can’t uphold yourself to those standards–just focus on how you could act today, on who you could be today.

Focusing on how it feels to take on those principles will build a foundation from which you can think and act on those principles.

tarot spreads in unlikely places

Inspired by Autostraddle’s Laneia, I bought a Passion Planner for 2016.

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It addition to monthly & weekly organizing pages, each month ends with a set of reflection questions like: What was the most memorable part of this past month? What were the three biggest lessons you’ve learned in this past month? How are you different between this month and last month? What or who are you especially grateful for this past month?

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It occurred to this morning that the Monthly Reflection was essentially a tarot spread.

 

 

 

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So basically I had a lovely premier de mars, beginning with a ten-card reflection on February.

Long story short, I made mistakes but I’m moving; I’m actually doing something. I have broken free from that very necessary healing cocoon, and I’m here to kick some ass. Err, read a lot of things..

Don’t Ignore the Signs of a Feline Fortune-Teller

For a week or more, I knew something was coming. Something bad.

There were many signs. One, for instance, was this odd wave of melancholy. What? I’m not sad. Look how great my life is right now! I couldn’t reason out the signs, so I ignored them. Well, okay I didn’t ignore them, I just waited. I waited without taking any action. (Is that ignoring?)

Was I waiting for a more specific sign? A sign the made ‘sense’? A sign that it was going away? I don’t know. I just know that I knew this was coming, and I know I didn’t do anything about it.

I’m still learning what my intuition sounds like. The melody, tune, and timbre differ oh so much from my good friend Logic. Without enough confidence in my gut, my ability to follow through falters.

Last week, we were gifted some halibut, which fed us for a couple days, with the last of it going to the meows. Lure [the Insatiable] didn’t eat any of their halibut breakfast, and just as I realized I wasn’t feeling well, Mercury ralphed theirs. It looked completely undigested, and I immediately knew I would be up all night snuggling a large pot. Cats are excellent at recognizing & expelling toxins; they’re much more proficient at it than humans.

And I have the opposite of an iron stomach.

I spent the afternoon, evening, all night, and all the next morning crying, whining, moaning, and vomiting while trying to distract myself with movies and card games.

I found some peace around noon (meaning I was able to lie flat without pain) and managed to finally catch some Z’s. Three hours later, however, I was rudely awoken by every muscle in my body screaming from dehydration. Abby brought me back to life with a tasty, made-from-scratch veggie & lentil soup.

If I had taken more precautions by pulling my nose out of my studies to fortify my body, this might not have been a 4-day ordeal.

I am feeling better now and more solidly human. Drawing a card for strength in putting myself back together, I came face-to-face with the 8 of Wands.

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I love the simplicity of this card; it’s very to-the-point: eight wands coming from above towards the ground/earth. I need bring all my little ideas & ambitions out of my abstract mindspace and into tangible reality.

Rather than one strong force, this card features eight separate bits all headed in the same direction. Breaking my projects & goals into digestible bits it’s actually a grand idea–both for slowly bringing my body back to life and for finally bringing my career plans to life.

This deck is often painfully direct with me, but here I think it’s being gentle. Instead telling me to pay attention to the earthy parts of my life with a Pentacle card, it’s validating my ambitions and offering a pathway to express them while still being kind to myself.

And I appreciate that.

Perspective: November in Port Protection

I’ve been a studying fiend lately, feasting on knowledge.

Learning the difference between trolling coho and king salmon. Learning about phytic acid and how to build a diet to strengthen teeth and ditch plaque. Learning the lunar mansions and the gifts/challenges of each natal moon. Learning the cleansing & medicinal properties of local plants and how to build my own materia medica. Learning how to track dreams and interpret them with the aid of tarot. Learning how to read the landscape to predict the weather. I get easily caught up in airy pursuits.

My current transient office space is the Wooden Wheel Trading Post in Port Protection, the only store in town. I like chatting with the folks who pop in, but the connection speed is not great and the TV is highly irritating. I generally work until I’m un-ignorably hungry or Abby scoops me up for an adventure.

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Traveling amongst the bush towns of Southeast has made this past year an endless adventure. The landscape beckons the soul to expand. The creative use of resources brings a fresh perspective to human ingenuity. And the people are brimming with stories of wisdom and whimsy.

NatGeo has a program [ingeniously] named Port Protection, but it really misses the nuances of all those things. Okay well, some of the nature shots are breath-taking, but the people and lifestyle are awkwardly framed and hyperbolized. Yes, there is a tight community out here, but the show forces folks together who don’t normally interact. And yes, folks go hunting  frequently, but the only people hunting bear are out-of-town trophy hunters. Bear is not tasty, and the folks out here are not starving.

It’s rather disappointing that NatGeo is more interested in emotion baiting rather than knowledge spreading. I haven’t watched much television in the past 5 or 6 years, aside from Netflix. Is this just what it’s all like now? When I think of the brand that is National Geographic, I think of cultural exploration, but these Alaska shows seem more like cultural exploitation.

I learned pretty much zilch watching Port Protection. They glazed over the didactic opportunities and ripped sarcasm out of context to create the most extreme emotional situations possible.

Lame. I’ll stick to my own studies.

Our two-day trip to Petersburg took four days, and not because of site seeing.

Day one: Miscommunication

I think we’re leaving the dock to anchor near the front of the bay where I’ll have full cell service (that is, internets) for the entire day, a luxury I haven’t experienced in months. While holding to an easy anchorage, I planned on putting in hours at my tech job and accomplishing various other internet chores.

Abby thinks today is a great chance to get a head start on our trip to Petersburg and that I only need a couple hours to complete my work. So while I settle myself behind my laptop, she shoots us out of the bay and across the channel, away from the cell tower.

When I almost lost service, we reconvened on the goal of the day, and realized our miscommunication. We anchored where I had a decent connection, and stayed for the night.

Day two: Why did we anchor here?

Surprise Harbor is not a good anchorage. The whole place is pretty shallow, so winds create large swells easily. We tried to leave but the winds matched our engine power, creating a stand-still. We re-anchored in the shitty weather and proceeded to re-check our position every 5-10 minutes for over 24 hours (thankfully only having to reset the anchor once). The boat continued to rock all day, just enough to make reading [or anything requiring focus] impossible. We weren’t in any danger, but we also couldn’t relax.

Day three: What’s the equation for wind plus tide plus boat?

Abby made a similar trip to Petersburg in one 16-hour day, so she thought we could travel this one section in 8 hours. We did some motor sailing (I’m still amazed by wind power; having the sails catch takes the breath out of me), but by midday we knew we weren’t on schedule.

With 3 hours left of daylight, we calculated we were still 7 hours from the nearest anchorage. We had not planned to run at night; we don’t have great lights for running at night; we were really freaked about running at night.

The night sky was packed with stars, and a waxing moon rose to my right, encouraging me along the way. I won’t lie; it was scary. Beautiful, but a bit scary. You can’t see the water, so you can’t judge the water. No one knew we were out there. Radar and GPS are not perfect.

The sun set around 6. I did most of the night driving, and by 10pm Abby was dropping anchor while I was drifting into dream land. We made it just fine, but we need to learn more about winds & tides.

Day four: Finally.

The last day was a breeze. Calm waters carried us the 5 hours into Petersburg. We even rode a couple back eddies, which doubled our speed. Abby pulled into the harbor like a pro, regardless of the nervous sweat she broke out in. And I saw my first grocery store since March. We promptly loaded up on junk food and spent the evening bingeing the entire first season of Transparent. We earned TV and Oreos, dammit.


I love love love living on a boat. It brings this nomad’s heart such fulfillment. I’ve only been living aboard for about 3 seasons, but I can’t see myself calling a piece of land ‘home’ ever again. Abby’s been doing this nautical dance for about 5 years now, and we’re both learning more every day..as are our cats.