Prosperity, Solidarity, Community
i’m on week two of this bout of illness. i’ll catch up on my schedule once i’m better and can resume posting. 💚
so what does recording and journalling and planning have to do with fiber arts and ritual tools? well, a lot actually. there are a lot of benefits to keeping a spiritual calendar as well as personal and project oriented ones. but my brain is wired in a way that makes sticking to those calenders after i’ve made them a bit difficult.
my brain gets the happy reward juice from writing things down, so i need to break up the big tasks into small ones in order to not feel like an entire year of projects has been completed when i have only just planned them. therefore, in order to actually finish things, i have a three pronged approach. non-linear, soft deadlines and small bites.
non linear starts with what i call the amorphous cloud. i make a general list of all the ideas i want to touch on during the next 5 years and then break that down into Past, Present and Future bubbles. i used to do the mind mapping technique, but now i just draw boxes and fill a sheet of paper until i need to break out.
giving myself the freedom to switch things around as my health, interest and resources wax and wane has helped immeasurably in sticking to my plans then adjusting as needed so that i finish things in a relatively good time. but also, realizing that not everything is going to be fast and efficient is just as important. slow fashion and slow crafting is a deep and integral part of ritual tools. like i said at the beginning of the year, time is an important material in ritual items and some of those tools take months to years to complete and i have to not only be ok with that, but plan for that. and that is where my journals come in.
i use 3 ring binders that i make art out of to keep my planner stuff in. making the binder is the first task and i usually start a few of them at a time when i need new binders. having more than one in progress means that i have choices for different uses, but also i’m thinking to my future needs and creating a base of extra materials to continue when i reach that point.
if i need 1 binder because my current one is getting full, i’ll decorate 3 and put aside 2 more with the materials to finish them because who knows how easy it will be to find those materials in 5 or 10 years? so that is one project that will take me approximately 1-3 months that will last me for 5-10 years. not too shabby! the trick is to plan that binder decorating project *before* i need them. like, a year or two before i need them. that type of task goes into the “Future” section of my planner.
the Present section is for immediate project pieces that i have deadlines for. where i put those in my calendar depends on whether they are soft deadlines for myself or hard deadlines for other people. hard deadlines are in Google Calendar and have a small page in the planner and either a large section in my ongoing project binder or it’s own binder/folder depending on the project or tool being created.
and in true non-linear thinking, the Past section is for UFO’s (unfinished objects), items that are long term in their creation, items that are complete and projects that are still in the brainstorming mode, but far enough along to be more than just an idea.
there are a lot of ideas that i recycle and reuse over the years. i keep lists of shower thoughts and brainstorming results in a creative compost heap called the Idea Bank. and just like a bank, once or twice a year i’ll go through those ideas and sort them into past/present/future projects to think about adding or improving on in the next year or so.when i withdraw an idea, i try to deposit a few to keep it balanced. i have a surprisingly small amount of ideas in the IB right now because this past year i sorted and consolidated all of my journals as my new year resolution, but what i have left is growing a nice crop of offshoots and making a great seedbed for the next couple decades.
i think the most important part of this system other than the fact that it works for me is taking small bites. each step is it’s own project and i keep track of it and plan for it as if it were a project itself. that gives me a lot of joy in finishing things and being able to make things in batches as well as prep multiple projects without losing steam. i am a sprinter running a marathon, haha. running one mile a day still gets you to 30 in a month and my knees appreciate it.
this also includes my spiritual calendar. my People and my personality are not bound to the corporate grind. my calendar is centered around the growing seasons of my area because i garden and tend the land i live on as a part of that bio system. when i am out of sync with the seasons, i am anxious and depressed, so to support emotional and mental health and be able to do what my Gods and Allies ask of me, i do my best to track the seasons and create my spiritual calendar of service, festivals and offerings accordingly.
microclimates are interesting in that my seasons can be different than a friend’s who lives a couple towns over. my celebrations are of the first blush of henbit i see greening up in my yard, the first baby rabbit dashing across my driveway, the first thunderstorm of the year where i rinse and bless my skeins of yarn spun during the winter, the first frost sparkling in the grass and the dry spiky brown seed heads of the zinnias i collect in fall. these are some of the things i look for locally and, add to that the astroweather, and i have a pretty full calendar.
which brings me to non-linear calendar records. a lot of my spiritual calendar is written after the fact. my calendar at the beginning of the year is pretty sparse! it’s filled with big projects that have been broken down into smaller ones, and the moon signs and a smattering of birthdays, big astroweather things if i remember them, a personal ephemeris of dates of things to watch out for and an unanchored list of things to do each season. and then i fill those things in as they happen.
there is no point to me of planning things to the minute. that just makes me stressed and doesn’t leave open any room for joy. my life is so simple that as long as i hit the high points each season, i have plenty of room for new experiences and soft deadlines. i prefer to read back over my previous records and then do divination at the appropriate moon phase to plan my month as i go and record how things went after the fact. putting *is* before *should*.
should is full of so many possibilities that i get swamped with decision fatigue and end up defaulting to nothing. is is what i am holding and doing and experiencing *now*. is is my truth, should is my guilt. and i have no room for guilt in my life. “would have beens” and “could have beens” are fodder for the compost of my idea bank and fun stories to think about when i’m throwing out ideas to add to my binder, but until they become *is*, they are just that, idea fodder.
so february is over and i have finished the small bites of beginning the Now projects for the year and planned out my binder for my garden and given myself a lot of fun ideas to keep me running on creative juice during what is looking like a difficult summer this year. my Google Calendar is a bit more full than i prefer and my UFO’s list is dwindling, so it’s time to add more to my Future list and stay on target as much as i comfortably can, but be compassionate to my future self if she struggles with this globally stressful year and prepare to support my friends, family and community as well.
plans are made for breaking and records in uncertain times are a lifeline to those who keep them. so in march i’ll be looking forward to taking a walk every day or so while checking in on my perennials friends to see who survived the winter and leaving treats for the neighborhood cats. and maybe finishing my forever surprise jacket so i can wear it? i only have the cuffs and the binding left and that is only 2 small bites!
i am a big fan of doing things out of order. of embracing the non-linear and the liminal in my life and work. of layering meaning onto snippets of conversation written down years before and evolving them into new things, artistic recycling as it were. following the cycle of life to death to life in a new form.
this post is going to be a little different from the previous ones in that i’m going to concentrate on a single page of my journal that has been evolving for the past 5 or so years.
i first heard of hypersigils in reference to comic books. essentially, they are a group of sigils that add time as an element. a piece of magick created with the intent to constantly build and move thru time. it tells a story and uses emotions and repetition to rewrite things as they are now, into the future that you would like to see.
in the format that i first encountered them, there were characters, a plot, odd and strange happenings and an emotional core that pulled everything together and drew the reader in to engage with the story and the sigil itself.
and this is good! but i do things a little bit differently. as long as i’ve been doing art and magick, i’ve unintentionally used my nonlinear journals as both records and hypersigils in a lot of ways, and a couple years ago i set out to intentionally create a hypersigil art journal.
i love junk journals. i love mood boards. i love collage. i love things that are inspirational and spark ideas and provoke deep emotional memories and thoughts. when i was a kid, i would spend hours cutting out colorful and interesting magazine pages and taping them up on my walls in huge complicated collages that would both tell a story and take me on an emotional color journey when i was laying in my bed. (and also created a huge pain in the butt when i had to take all that tape off the walls. oops. live and learn!)
i also love sigil magick. i love all the different ways to create them and the different tech and purposes and histories of sigils and talismans. sigils work for me and i draw them a lot, which means if i am not destroying them, i need a place to keep the shoeboxes and envelopes of scraps of paper i’ve created and kept for potentiality ephemera over the years.
i use some of them in my dirt jars and other spells, but the pretty ones and the long plan ones needed a journal. specifically, a junk journal where i can collage and alter and change the narrative as i see fit. each page would be a planned sigil to help ease the transition of moving to a new house and settling in after a long illness and bring health to recover from that illness, and so far it’s been doing brilliantly!
junk journals mean that i can take a 50 cent composition book, glue the pages together to create a set number of primed and ready surfaces and then create to my heart’s delight with the bonus that there is no such thing as perfection. the work is ongoing and mistakes are just invitations for future innovation.
when i make a sigil, i don’t spend too much time on the statement of intent, as controversial as that might sound. the words don’t actually mean much, they are more importantly a focal point for your emotions. the emotions that the sigil makes you feel are the important parts to me. my intents are usually pretty straight forward. “calm’ “safety” “my bill is paid” “health and healing” i make sigils for my Gods and Allies and use those in devotions and offerings.
the words are the spark, but the emotions guide my hand. i’ll take the words and spin them into a story, creating a deep connection to the future that i want to see, the knot that needs to be untangled, the the problem that needs to be solved. and i weave those into the wider narrative of the page where i am adding that sigil.
the photos in today’s post are mostly of an unfinished sigil page. a page that has the intention of welcome and hard work and getting things done in the timeframe that i have given them. i’m sharing this page because not only is it unfinished, but i’ve intentionally designed it as a page to be for public display, unlike most of the other pages. i like being able to share my art and works in progress, but some of those spreads are too personal to me to just post them on the internet, lol.
it’s a good page! there are conversations going on there. i’ve slowly been adding and building it up since the middle of 2019, but the paper and sigils so far were created a longer time ago and taken from my ephemera box for a new life, and i’m adding that time into the spell.
unlike a lot of sigil makers, i do keep track of the gist of what each one means and i infrequently completely destroy them. i like knowing that there is a relationship formed with each spell and that i can trace my path to where i began to where i am going and tweak things as i go along. refine the process and boost some areas, finish others and let them go, but respectfully and thanking them for their service.
and just like reading cards or runes for divination, there are conversations that happen when i use sigils in collage. they are alive and real and active not only in conversation with me, but with each other. pasting certain pieces together create stronger bonds and boost older spells that would have been weaker alone. adding new intentions and emotions to old and ongoing sigils adds a new thread that connects it to both it’s beginnings and tweaks it’s destination for my current reality. coloring a black and white drawing gives subtle emotional nuance to the outcome.
there are so many ways to enhance and expand on this concept! i love keri smith’s book, wreck this journal so much i’ve bought it 3 times now and used each one to expand my anti-perfectionistic, nonlinear creativity. it’s such a fun concept and i’ve brought a lot of that into my hypersigil journals.
adding sticks and dirt and coffee and candy wrappers and tearing and folding pages, removing some pages and adding others, burning the edges, writing out elaborate dreams and rewriting my past to incorporate the feelings that i want to embrace in my future is the way my brain works.
this is not a diary or a book of days, this is a well used travel planner and passport that shows it’s wear and tear and soup spills and coffee rings, but also gossamer dreams and energetic motivation to solve life’s problems and create a better life and a healthier mental place to be in.
i’m not asking to win the lottery, buy a yacht and date a hot person. that’s really not me. when i flip thru my sigil pages, i feel calm and excitement and joy and the fresh smell of turned earth in springtime when the weeds are germinating and i am full of anticipation and plans for the year. it’s exciting and fresh and new and gives me tiny delights to add more and evolve those pages further. take those accidental spills and tears and turn them into fantastic stories for my future self to be inspired by and continue the conversation.
i’m moved! it took me a couple weeks, but i’m finally moved down into the basement and i’m working on setting up my area workspace as well as settling into my new bedroom. i’m really happy with how things have worked out so far!
one of the first things i did once i had my furniture set up and my bed made was set up my journal shelf. my room doesn’t feel like home until i’ve got my journals available. 😅
so in celebration of having my writing and art desk set up again, i’m going to talk about my divination chat journal! since this is my second post this week in order to get back on schedule, it’ll be a bit shorter than usual. here is a technique that i use to communicate with my People.
i started chatting with my spirit Allies and my People thru keeping a divination journal a few years ago. i had tried keeping a tarot diary where i recorded my daily card pulls and various important readings i did for myself off and on for several years but i never really used that information. like, it was good in the moment and for looking back on a few months later when i did follow ups, but i usually just ended up burning those journals at the end of the year (or tearing out the few pages i used before giving up and then starting over)
then one day as i was recording a clarification reading, i decided to do things a little more realtime. instead of asking the cards for advice on a situation and then writing a journal entry about what i thought it meant, i asked a specific question and then pulled a card as the answer like i was chatting with a friend.
it was illuminating and just what i needed at that time. i shuffled the cards once between each question and treated them like a conversation. i wish i had written down that first reading, but it took me a few more months before i started recording these divination chats on scraps of paper and in old notebooks and finally graduated to a big green binder.
i currently only have one journal that i keep divination chats in. i use multiple modalities for various parts of the conversation and i have gotten to know the cards/runes/dice/bones a lot better because of the casual nature of these readings.
how it works is generally like this:
i wash my hands, light a tealight and pour a cup of tea.
then i draw a line down the center of my page and on one side is my part of the conversation and the other side is where i record the answers and the other part of the conversation. i use a question and answer format to get started, but a lot of the time, things will naturally flow into a dialogue.
“hello! how’s it going? is anyone up for a chat today?”
at first when i started writing things down, everything seemed like gibberish and i was super self conscious. it took me a several tries to figure out what worked, what the ritual surrounding the conversation looked like depending on who i was chatting with, how detailed and urgent my questions were, or if it was a casual visit or a formal request for help.
i talk about a lot of things. i ask about ritual tools, about upcoming events in my mundane life, about discernment and tasks and things that are asked of me, things that i’ve been researching and wondering a lot about, things that i am curious about. but i also just… chat. i’m talking with old friends and ancestors and my Gods and Allies who have been with me for most of my life. this is a comfortable and lovely ritual.
sometimes i’ll sit down and read back in my journal and catch things that i had missed at the time of writing and continue that conversation in the spaces i leave around my readings. tying those conversations together thru time gives a lot of nuance that can be missed if i just assume that my first impression was the only interpretation. it’s always amazing to me how much becomes clearer over time and how much can be contained in simple dialogue.
over time, my runes have become the messengers of planning and events and opinions on how things are, tarot is a more colorful dialogue that answers why and how and what and where, and i have yes/no dice to clear up any misunderstandings. and then my rosebones are for talking with my Sisters.
i really love how versatile this system is and how i can create an elaborate ritual around an important topic or simply pour a cup of tea and roll the dice to see if anyone is around to have a conversation.
i think eventually i’ll create separate journals for different Allies i chat with, but for now having tabs in my sketchbook is working ok.
and finally, keeping my divination journals up to date gives me a pattern to use for discernment and helps me to plan my spiritual calendar for the season/year with the help of my Allies and keeps the lines of communication open.
consent is very important to me and i want to know if everything is above board with things that i am planning and tasks that i have been given to do. being transparent and honest with the People who i trust most is my main goal in most endeavors.
and then sometimes, it’s just nice to catch up and chat with someone i love and share a cup of tea.