The Dark Half of the Year

Traditionally, the dark half of the year begins at or around Samhain and ends at or around Beltane. These are the two points where “the veil between the worlds” is at its thinnest and spirits can be reached. People have argued for years that this veil has been shredded or at least exceptionally porous lately, more so than it has been in the past.

I don’t know about any of that, but I do know that this year, I’ve been highly sensitive to the porousness of the physical world. It started, to me, somewhere two weeks before Samhain. I know that I was gradually being consumed by thoughts of ghosts and spirits. And then, three days before Halloween, I saw a black dog running across the street, in direct line of sight from where I work. I’m unsure if this was a sign, but it felt like enough of a thing for me to take notice.

I’m not sure what it meant.

Then there’s the persistent quest this year for something to Yule and Christmas that isn’t the usual cheery nonsense. Something deeper and scarier. This is the realm of Krampus, Berchta/Perchta, the Wild Hunt (in all of its forms), and, believe it or not, A Christmas Carol. This is the world of blizzards and bitter cold and the struggle for survival and the impulse to huddle together with loved ones (note: the key phrase is “loved ones”, and there are people I am biologically close to that I do not love). Part of me craves that atmosphere, as though the blizzard will contain the numinous.

Based on all the folklore, I think I’m on the right track with that one.

Rabbit Rabbit 8-1: Augury

In Beckett’s post “Run, Rabbit, Run – An Augury for One” he puts forth the following theory: gods do not direct animals to perform certain portentous actions wherever humans happen to be able to witness. Gods direct humans to where portentous events are occurring so that we can witness them. There’s a big difference between the two. The first is human-centric, the second is not. The second regards humans as another “cog in the machine” of nature. Gods can direct animals, but direct us instead because it’s all the same and the outcome is more important.

This wasn’t intended to be a Rabbit Rabbit post. I’ve been sitting on the above paragraph for a couple of weeks, wondering where I was going to go with it.

Last night, I baked some bread. I offered a slice to the gods, and Andraste asked to hang onto it. Then, later today, I was asked to give it to the local river spirit (of a body of water I refuse to accept is a “creek”). I confess that my last interaction with this spirit was essentially asking a stranger for a favor. I knew what I had done and tried to keep radio silent on the matter. I’d succeeded for two years, and then came tonight.

Finding the right secluded spot away from people was a challenge provided by nature and complicated by people, with a live music event in the nearby park. Slight water logging and many bug bites later, I had found the spot. I sat, and I explained myself.

I said Andraste asked this of me. I thought about how best to disperse the bread (worried someone would notice). I apologized for the incident two years ago. I explained that I had become acquainted with the work of someone who taught me better, who was steering me toward right relationship with nature.

I think the river accepted. I know something between us mellowed out after the final bits of bread floated downriver. I talked very briefly about how everything was collapsing (in that, I tried my best in the world we live in and I disagreed, but was a cog in the machine, and the full weight of the year of our Lord 2020 has been brought to bear on capitalism). And I sat there for several minutes staring at the pool I had found in the river, between two bunches of dead trees and fallen branches.

I had wondered, but dared not disturb, what took shelter there.

And, for a little while, I was completely alone with the river, or so it seemed. And that was fine.

I’m recounting this to suggest that I had been guided there for that specific purpose. When I bid my farewells and began to feel more at peace, I remembered this post and what I had been working on. I suspect the thesis of Beckett’s piece is that humans can be guided the way we think animals are guided by the Gods, and it is probably easier for the Gods to guide us than to guide a multitude of players to compose a specific scene They want us to see. I think as a result, humans are guided more often than not (or whacked with the appropriate clue-by-four, as needed), but think too highly of our own agency and centrality in the world.

(Yes, we have agency, but no, the world does not revolve around us.)

And I will say, this is certainly the year of my changing pagan practice. I think the tree in my yard would agree.

I Write Science Fiction

For the past couple of months, I’ve been watching the world spiral out of control. Between the pandemic (and the economic strain it places especially on “essential” (read: poor) workers) and news of a host of other disasters, it was hard to think otherwise. And then a man was killed by cops, sparking protests and any and all efforts to shut those protests down.

I won’t write one of “those” posts (whatever you think “those” posts are). You can find much better elsewhere online. But I will say that I have been thinking about (and writing, and worldbuilding) the fact that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Why do we need cops? What are those shifty bastards good for that we can’t manage by ourselves? (And furthermore, why aren’t we managing those things ourselves? Why aren’t we protecting our children? Why aren’t we helping people out? Why did we decide this was OK?)

The more this goes on, the more I think it’s perfectly OK to collectively shame people into proper behavior. Not outmoded standards about how women should behave, of course. That’s bullshit. But the basics that we can all agree on, like “murder is bad” and “everyone is equal so treat them that way” and “don’t diddle kids” (yes, that last one needs to be stated). I know not everyone agrees on all of those, but plenty of decent people do. Hopefully critical mass.

We express the ideas we think about, and how we regard them, in fiction. This is the principle behind storytelling “karma”, that authors will punish specific actions to show their readers that a thing is not OK. Or do the reverse and reward some actions to provide a role model of sorts. This is where the “evil slutty woman” trope comes from, among a ton of others. And I think that principle can be put to good use. If the things we used to write as good were written as bad, and vice versa, and if we wrote those books and published those books, we could reach a few people. One or two of us might be bestsellers, or hit an equally big potential audience piggybacking off of something else. And there go the dominoes.

Write the book about someone outside “the box” (you know the one, labeled “Blank Slate” in big red Sharpie). Those things you see demonized elsewhere? Show they’re good. I know this has been said a LOT, a ridiculous amount, and it won’t directly counter the tide of every other bad message elsewhere in the world, but it’s a good place to start, and there needs to be a lot more books like it. And, if you have to, stand by your authorial choices. Don’t change your protagonist because the agent doesn’t like it.

On Cycles

History doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes.


As we know, this is a peculiar time to be alive. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find myself thinking things like “This must’ve been what it was like to live through the Black Death” or “…the Spanish Flu.” There’s a group of pagans, bloggers and otherwise, who have sensed for years the coming of dark times and Otherworldly beings. One suggests the latter at least is a cycle.

It’s as good a time as any to talk about cycles, I think.

According to the Llewellyn 2020 Sabbats Almanac, under the Cosmic Sway section for Ostara:

A new thirty-two year cycle started on January 12, 2020, with Saturn conjunct Pluto. Jupiter joins the fray on December 21, 2020. The Great Conjunction, as it is named, is associated with huge shakeups, politically and planetarily, literally and metaphorically. Nine US presidents have been killed, died of illness, or experienced an assassination attempt during a Great Conjunction. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are also more common. The Great conjunction is all about destruction. To add more misery, the weather predictions for the winter this year are heavy snows brought on by a strong La Niña depression off the coast of Central and South Americas. The time for preparation is in the spring and summer. Prepare for a lack of food, water, and electricity during the winter months. Sow heavily in the garden this year, and sow often, taking advantage of the planting days. Can and dry and pickle and ferment; save all of the food if possible in case of a long, difficult winter. Stock up on firewood if that is an option, otherwise prepare for long power outages and lack of heat. Water is always the most important emergency provision, so store water, as well as gasoline for a generator. Don’t forget blankets, candles, and matches.

pg. 132

The Almanac was released in late 2019, before the coronavirus outbreak, during which many are already experiencing some of the things listed above (namely food shortages), and plenty not listed (shortages of things like cleaning supplies and toilet paper). If this winter is as bad as all that, then we should expect plenty of hoarding behavior then, as well.

I don’t understand astrology very well, I’ll be the first to admit, so I had to google “Saturn conjunct Pluto” to work out what that means. The most I’m able to parse out from the vague word salad of astrology-speak is that something big has begun either earlier this year or late last year, and will persist for quite a while. It would be easy to say that astrology predicted the coronavirus, but I won’t, because I’m probably wrong.

But this isn’t about coronavirus, at least, not entirely.

There’s something else at work here, and I think I’m finally beginning to see it (took me a while, eh?).

This brings me to the real reason for all this pondering.

Search “otherworld” on John Beckett’s blog ( and you will find posts about the glowing green bird and his theory that the Otherworld’s “proximity” (for want of a better word) to our world waxes and wanes throughout truly epic scales of time. I’m sure that’s possible, as everything else in nature works in cycles, from the movements of the planets down to a day, a year on Earth.

And speaking of Earth, I bring you Milankovitch Cycles ( These are a collection of long-range cycles the Earth goes through and what that means for the climate. For example, eccentricity (how close or far the Earth’s orbit is from “circular”) is, at last Wikipedia update, .017 and decreasing. This means seasonal changes are getting milder*. Axial tilt also changes, and is currently at 23.44 degrees. (I seriously hope you don’t need me to tell you how this affects Earth’s climate.)

*I will not be taking comments from people who want to use this to day humans didn’t affect the climate at all ever and therefore should let it work itself out.

Eccentricity runs on a roughly 100,000 year cycle that we seem to be roughly in the middle of. Axial tilt was max 8700 years ago and will be at its minimum 9800 years from now. We can speculate that “the time of gods walking among men” and other such things ended at roughly the dawn of human civilization (more or less, and accounting for regional variations), which was maybe sometime between these last two end points.

Now, cycles move independently of one another and sometimes line up with other cycles in interesting combinations. For example, the eccentricity cycle is an order of magnitude longer than the axial tilt cycle. Mercury retrograde happens at least once a year (and boy do I hear about it). The Saturn Return is roughly once every 30 years. Sometimes, statistically, two or more of these happen at the same time.

Now let’s return to our Saturn conjunct Pluto. It happened to occur in the earliest days of the outbreak, and also in the midst of the Otherworldly changes going on. AND ALSO, for an election year. And, for Yule this year we get the Great Conjunction (just what I always wanted!), which may or may not be a portent of doom. So, that will just so happen to occur following the results of the November election, and hopefully once we’ve got this outbreak under control. And we will probably still be in the middle of whatever the Otherworld is doing.

I’m not the greatest at suspecting the Otherworld is doing much of anything. But, people whose work I respect have noticed, so I feel fairly confident taking them at their word.

I’m Still Confused by the Buttwipe

What a lovely month it’s shaped up to be. Coronavirus has swept the globe, going from a faint abstraction a month ago to literally the next county over as of last week. If you aren’t under a shelter-in-place order, all the public spaces are closed, which is basically the same. Gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, Lysol spray. It’s. Everywhere.

And people did as people do: panic, and behave strangely (the hoarding of toilet paper, of all things), or pretend it’s all a government hoax caused by the Democrats because “they couldn’t impeach Trump” (even though last I checked that was held up due to the fact that Republicans refused to cooperate with Democrats under any circumstances but the ones that would allow them to throw out the evidence).

We’re still out of toilet paper, by the way. Distilleries are making hand sanitizer. People I work with are still trying to downplay the very serious pandemic going on all around us. One day I was deeply overcome with anxiety over the whole situation. Ever since, I’ve put more feeling into appealing to the Gods for health.

Thankfully, I haven’t had a crisis of faith yet. Those all seemed to happen before I knew who the Gods were, the ones I’m specifically talking to and praying to right now, and who are also making sure I eat something resembling health food every morning. I’m not sure if They saw all this coming, or if this is part of everything else which is going on, between the election (#hidinbiden) and the environment and who knows what else. Perhaps They did, and They know that small routines are good for times like these. Where would I be otherwise?

But, I don’t think about it tremendously much. I try not to panic. I avoid the news. I wait it out. I read other things, on other topics. I’ve been keeping myself sane for the most part. And, I’ve noticed very little change in my actual habits. I’m an introvert, after all. It just feels weird that the rest of the world is with me on that. (And, in the mean time, my Christmas decorations are still up, and a little off-season Holly Jolly never killed anyone, far as we know.)


A week into a new year, a new decade. The energy had shifted after New Year’s Day, generally speaking, as if now that “the holidays” are over I can focus on something real, dig up a few things that I had otherwise been neglecting in the stress and sense of obligation. I’ve been reading, re-reading, listening. There are new things and old things revisited.

I returned to a particular author’s posts about priesthood, service for the Gods, what it means to be called, and so on. This National Geographic with an article on Boudica that’s been sitting on my floor for ages has finally gotten the front page news read. I listened to a new audiobook on devotional polytheism. And I’m seeking something in the history of the Iceni, in the possible connections between “Andraste” and “Andarta”. I’m not sure what that something is.

“Andraste”/”Andrasta” means “Invincible”, or “Indestructible”. “Andarta” originates in southern Gaul and means “well-fixed, staying firm”. All, of course, traits a good warrior would aspire to in battle. They could be the same Goddess, no one is sure. Nobody wrote anything down and what the Romans wrote is completely biased and almost unreliable because of it (but for the basics and what is backed up by the archaeological record, take everything you read by a Roman “historian” with a grain of salt).

So far this is where my seeking has led me. I’m not sure where it will lead me after this, and I know I’ll never quite be done seeking. That’s how seeking works. But a check in once in a while never hurt anyone.

Additional Reading:

Celtic Festival of Andraste, Andate, Andarta & Brigantia (Brythonic)

Rabbit Rabbit (Nov. 4, Good Luck Still?)

I’ve forgotten this for a few days, sadly, but I have a couple of thoughts, namely on the past month. I haven’t been into Halloween as much this year as I have been in years past, and I have since been unable to determine why. Perhaps I want to just get to Christmas already and feel like my world is happy and warm and content as winter sets in (remarkably early this year. I hear it will be colder than last year, and I’m not looking forward to that). I’ve never been into Thanksgiving, and don’t give it more thought than “I will probably make something nice that day I’m not sure”. It isn’t that I am ungrateful, I am quite grateful, but my mother has always loved Thanksgiving and it has this undertone of “be thankful that I am your mother or you’ll be sorry!” to it. I had Thanksgiving one year with a friend’s family and I was shocked and overcome with how warm and inviting the atmosphere was. It felt as though this whole huge family was there just to be there, and I loved it so much. My own family never felt like that, and I don’t remember it from holiday dinners with my mother’s family. That is, however, the feeling I receive from my gods. So, I will cook something nice this year, and share it with Them, because I love Them.

The second thought is, I saw a post ( which suggested that not a person, but a rabbit, crossing your future grave caused a shiver down the spine. I had always heard otherwise, but this gives me some life and hope. I hope Andred’s creatures have found a nice spot for me. I wonder if I will find it before I die. I wonder if such a thing can be divined. Probably.

I think, in aggregate, I am moving away from celebrating any warped concept of “family” I developed growing up, and into celebrating my gods (and with my gods). Feeling Their energy and reveling in it and believing that the world is right. It’s certainly better than allowing my parents to live in my head without paying the rent or utilities.

Rabbit Rabbit – Oct. 1

I have dreams about her now. It didn’t happen before I stopped talking to her, but it’s happened since. Three times, in fact. The first, I dreamed that she was trying to take credit for my achievements and claim that I almost cost her money by switching majors in college. I yelled at her to go fuck herself. The second, I barely remember, but I think it may have involved an assault. The third time, last night, I dreamed that she repeatedly broke into my apartment, spread lies of me to my neighbors, and then assaulted me, forcing me to kill her in self defense.

They say dreams can be interpreted as divine messages from the gods, or more modernly, as something in your brain trickling through the process. Peanuts being percolated, if you will. I’m worried about what these dreams mean, and I have no good guesses. I know of stories online told by people who dreamed of their abusive parents, a trend which decreased when they severed ties. I’ve followed the opposite trend.

I try to think that I’ve moved on, the way my dad claims she has, even though she’s been harassing my therapist and my employer in an effort to resume contact with me. I probably wouldn’t give that day a second thought if they did not keep reminding me of it. So, who is really “over it”?


This morning I told Andred of my intention to cut off all my hair into something that I’m much more comfortable with. It’s starting to knot every morning, and it’s generally a hassle to deal with anyway, and it’s time for a change. Plus, as I no longer speak with my mother I don’t feel obliged to take her opinions of my hair into account. (And I want to look like, and be perceived as, a lesbian. In part it’s a self-defense measure against weird old men.)

I received another idea for a blog post, on the two tarot cards I use to represent Her. I’ll work on that one today, too. But this is about having a goal in mind and making it happen. Sometimes it takes just a few steps, but sometimes goals span a lifetime of work toward them. Happiness is one of the latter, and I’m getting there, too.