I figured a few things out in January. “Finally got the message” might be another way to put it.
I decided I was finally going to try and properly learn astrology, because I was tired of reading really lengthy write-ups on transits and so on and not understanding what it all meant, and also the notion of learning horary astrology is really intriguing, and who doesn’t want another divinatory skill?? I also decided that I was going to get a year-ahead reading done by an astrologer, instead of going for tarot or something like most years.
The reading was horrible, emotionally; the reader did quite a good job – I got advice for dealing with several problems that are shown in my chart, things I have been aware of in my life for years, as well as advice for the specific career/work-related concerns I specifically wanted answered during the reading. Plus a lot of info about things I’ve been aware of but also avoidant of for various reasons, which, okay, guess I can’t do that any more, dammit, but that’s probably just as well.
However, I also got the reader bluntly saying that the career direction I just fucking switched to late last fall isn’t going to be a long-term thing, followed up by “I’m not sure there even is A Thing you’re going to be when you grow up,” or words to that effect. This was the opposite of what I hoped and wanted to hear. I mean, okay, sure, if the current freelancing goals don’t last the rest of my life, ok?? I’m not, like, super emotionally attached to the work, but fuck! HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES DO I HAVE TO CHANGE MY PLANS. Why the fuck can’t I have more stability????????????????????????????
So, like, I dropped one very dearly-held long-worked-for career goal because the gods said “Yeah, sorry, you need to stop trying that” and then They gave me a LOT of help changing to something else, and I worked towards that for years and got about 2 years of actual work in that field and then . . . then that got terminated while I redirected (with LOTS of spiritual prompting and aid) to something that should be financially good but isn’t borne of passion like Attempts 1 and 2 were. And now I’m hearing that Attempt 3 – spiritually guided and supported!! – isn’t going to last either?????? Excuse me if I am very angry and distressed by this, along with the big helping of “This is just how your life IS.”
I got angrier and angrier after the reading, blamed some of the planets more than others, and then decided that perhaps I ought to do some divination to find out Who is responsible for this state of my life, why, and is this bullshit going to continue, because my career trajectories have been various kinds of fucked and futile and short-lived since 2008.
I set out several divination decks, plus my runes, with each tool representing a different pantheon or group of spirits – with one deck left for any other spirits/Powers/etc. I’m not already aware of, because I really wasn’t sure Who I need to have some words with. (I realized afterwards this was peak “I want to speak with the manager” and yes I may be a middle-aged white woman (more or less) but even moreso I have a life-long hatred of authority figures pulling shit coupled with a life-long desire to question and challenge and demand answers and change from said authorities.)
The answers came via that deck, from a spirit I didn’t (at first) recognize. And They basically backed up, in much harder terms, what the reading of my chart told me, which was one of the worst things any spirit’s ever told me. So much for my hopes for my life! Crushed. Devastated. (I knew that once I recovered from this I would probably see that card in a better light, and I do, but.) After I recovered enough from the first, most terrible card, I asked some more questions, made some very pointed comments about how I thought the way my adult life has unfolded due to the planets has been cruel, and got a bit more information and reassurances that if I go the direction They think is where I am most needed, I’ll have success. During that conversation I realized that this spirit was the same as the Mystery Guest who showed up last fall when I finished writing up a big wish-list for the next big move in my career/work-life, and was the one who basically accepted that wish-list/petition/accidental demands of The Management. So, there it is: they have my terms, but did I want what They indicate is/was laid out for me? Fuck no. There could hardly have been a worse card to indicate the shape of things.
I had a very bad couple of weeks. I’ve read The Wicked + The Divine and during this time I kept thinking about that one issue where the phrase “Persephone is in hell” came to mind repeatedly.
I also discovered during that time that Pluto, which is in the 10th house in my natal chart (career/vocation matters), has been transiting my first house (self) since 2008, and Pluto is connected with, er. Death. During 2012, when my agnosticism took a fatal hit and I revamped a huge amount of myself and my life overall, Pluto transited over the exact degree of my ascendant multiple times. And since 2008, my ideas of self-and-career, which have always been connected, they have taken several fatal hits and restarts, and here we are again.
I also learned, much to my delight (ha), that Uranus and Neptune also do some fun transits during one’s midlife period!! Also connected with Big Life Upheavals!!
I love astrology!! It answers so many things, in so many cheery and delightful ways!!! And Pluto won’t be out of my first house until 2024 what the fuck am I going to do send help.
Personal angst aside, and pretty well past at this point, I have been enjoying myself like I haven’t in years. The intellectual challenge is wonderful, there’s so much to learn, I’m beginning to understand how various pieces fit together to make bigger pictures, it’s just really amazing and I’m so glad I got into this after putting it aside since my early 20s.
In addition, while I was still mourning my dreams, I got a strong nudge to start studying planetary and astrological magic, and in the process of inhaling podcasts and reading related materials I found some things that finally, finally, cleared up some long-standing questions.
— So, none of the gods want me “worshiping” them and that’s been the case for years – am I even doing religion any more, should I still call myself a polytheist? If not, then, wtf?
— I keep meeting more and more pantheons and groups of spirits, this isn’t anything like normal, what does it all mean, why this, what am I supposed to be doing?? And why am I getting prompted to learn so many kinds of divination?
— I’m doing things kind of like this group of people, and kind of like that group, and a bit like them over there, but none of them seem to be my people, where the fuck do I belong?
— I’m kind of like a witch, I guess; people I know who do things like I do call themselves witches, but that doesn’t feel like the right term, but none of the others do either, so I’m sticking with “spirit worker” but seriously, come on People, what the fuck am I???
What I found by hopping from astrological podcast to astrological podcast to magician-on-podcast was, first of all, a podcast featuring Josephine McCarthy, which was interesting because she talked about working with/for the land, and from there I looked up Quareia to learn more about her, a site I’d seen a time or two years ago, skimmed through, said “not for me,” and forgot about. But since I had time to kill I skimmed through it again, appreciated the writing on land Powers, all the while thinking “I don’t know if I want to start this, it’s fucking huge . . . ” and then I binge-read the entire study guide.
I had to pause several times reading the first couple sections of it because fuck my life, there it is, that’s what I’ve been fucking living with. I hadn’t read anything else that felt so familiar since reading Emma Wilby’s Cunning-Folk and Familiar Spirits. Well; except that time I read a bunch of posts on some OTO magician’s blog and was like “That! That’s the talk about dealing with spirits I’ve been missing in polytheist land!” and then forgot about it again for a couple years because I’m not a ceremonial magician nor wish to be.
This wasn’t the only clue I’ve had, but it was like finally getting the picture on the puzzle box and seeing how all the god damned pieces snap together.
So: I have not been on a religious path like I thought I was. It’s been a magically-oriented path, and that pretty much has to be individualistic (unless one is drawn to one of the formal paths/temples/whatever like OTO, which I very much am not). So I don’t need to worry any more about fitting in right with the other polytheists, cause I’m really not doing polytheism.
Huge. Fucking. Relief.
So that’s where I am.
Funny thing: even when I was an ardent young atheist, I wanted magic, and I could never quite let go of that even when I tried to be consistent in not believing in gods or spirits or magic or astrology.
I have friends who are really great with the scholarly aspects of religion, and I appreciate what they talk about, but that isn’t my thing, and it’s left me feeling awkward and not-quite-belonging. I have other friends who have intense, well-developed, deep mystical devotional practices, but that, to my sorrow, is also not my thing. As much as I adore Loki and want more and deeper time with Him, He made me quit my regular devotional practice related to Him; even before then I spent years wondering on and off if maybe I just wasn’t trying hard enough, while envying the people who are oriented to that kind of life, or towards the more academic way of doing things. It has felt like I haven’t been deepening anything, or developing anything, just moving from one thing to another to another and . . . I like learning lots of different things but I also hate feeling like just a fucking dilettante, whether in this area of my life or the whole fucking work/career clusterfuck of changes.
But finally, finally, I know what it is I am oriented towards, and that actually I have gained a hell of a lot in the last several years, and by being told where I belong I’ve also been freed of needing to belong anywhere, because it’s clear that even if I have a lot in common with other magicians – it’s got to be done my own way.
I started the Quareia practice a few weeks ago. I’m aiming, but not aiming, to finish it. You know, whenever. Not having “finishing” as a goal means I am not putting internal pressure on myself. I’ve already got lots of practice with many things it covers (which has also been really reassuring to see! These years have definitely taught me a lot already!), but I haven’t done them the way they are in the curriculum, and there are lots of techniques in there that will be new to me, whenever it is I get to them. So it’ll be fun, and a challenge, and fuck yeah, more skills, more tools!
As for the career stuff . . . gods. I’m kind of not looking at that because I’m still sore over the whole thing, and the joy and hope I had when I did all the work to setup the freelancing thing has been hard to get back, while also learning astrology better so I can understand that part of my chart better, while also trying to give up on the idea of “career” entirely. Vocation, well – I have some ideas about what it is I’m supposed to do there though I’m holding that at arm’s length as long as I can, but I think that’s going to have to be separate from how I get my income. Work is not career, see.
This is a long way of saying the subject matter covered here is probably going to be a lot different than it used to be.
January had multiple planetary conjunctions and transits that lined up all too neatly with my personal bullshit. When the month ended, I saw several posts on social media along the lines of “The decade that was January is finally over and WE SURVIVED” and I know some of them were referring to how there was not, in fact, any nuclear war, but each time I saw one of those posts I thought, “. . . I’m not so sure that I did, honestly.” I think Pluto (conjuncting Saturn – which rules my ascendant – which then went through its own death-rebirth process by way of conjuncting the Sun) had its parting shot at sending me into death and the underworld, and it’s true that I’m no longer there, and where I am now I am very happy and excited, and having a good time with the Powers I’m getting to know – but discovering a new life doesn’t mean you survived the blow, either.