December was a weird month.
I covered the first half of it back in my last real post, but the second half definitely tracked differently. At the beginning, December was about my father’s cancer diagnosis. I was holding my breath, hoping for the best, and planning for the worst. By the middle of the month, however, my father got his good news (however tentative it may be), and we were all back to the “normal” sort of dread which we’ve all come to know and loathe over this past year.
If the first part of December was about holding my breath, the second was about long sighs of not-quite-relief. “Exhausted sagging” is probably the phrase for it. Or maybe “relaxing,” but I haven’t felt relaxed in so long I’m not sure I’d recognize the feeling if I had it.
Either way, that stupid, fucking, horrible, no-good year is over. And yes, I know that the flip of a calendar page means nothing in the cosmological sense, but holy hell it feels good to be writing “2021” on my checks now.
So with that, let’s talk about the new year, and what I want to get out of it.
I mentioned in my last post that I’ve done a fair bit of divination on the paths ahead, and the direction I want to take my life in over the next twelve months. There’s still more to do, but I’ve broken things down enough to get a sense of the overall “flow.”
In rough chronological order, here’s my ten-thousand-foot view of how I’d like to spend my time this year, at least for the first few months.
Get my body to stop sucking
Last year kicked my ass mentally, which meant I kicked my own ass physically. There’s been a lot of junk food, a lot of booze, and far too many cigarettes. It’s the same story I’ve already told here, and the same one I’ve seen countless other people tell countless times.
So, it’s time to stick a fork in that. And by “that” I mean a goddamned vegetable every so often.
Truth be told, though, any improvements to my physical health are probably not going to get going in earnest until spring. My favorite form of exercise is taking long-ass walks, and since it’s winter here now and I hate the cold…yeah.
Tinker with a programming project
Back in August, my old laptop finally became annoying enough that I was forced to upgrade it. That event inspired me to write a long, rambling post about “ideal lives.”
In a nutshell, I spent most of my first twenty-some-odd years on this planet setting up, repairing, and writing software for computers. Then I realized that I hated computers, left the “tech” industry behind, and almost instantly became happier than I had been in my entire life.
I still had to fix and manage my own computers at home (as well as be my family’s reluctant “IT consultant”), and still found myself writing small pieces of software here and there to make my life easier. Over the years, though, I learned to curb most of my non-essential computer-related impulses.
I mean, when my computer throws a fit, I don’t have the budget to make that someone else’s problem, so yeah, I still do what I have to do to get it working again. But there’s a difference between that and, say, coming up with an idea for a small video game and deciding to spend a couple of days writing it.
Life is short, and I don’t want to spend it staring at a command line or Googling error messages.
Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon late last month. I’ve had an idea for a piece of software kicking around in my head for over a year now, and found myself writing code before I knew what I was doing.
I won’t go into the details, and honestly have no idea if I will either finish the project or share it with anyone else, but it looks likely I’ll be spending a good deal of this winter working on it.
Probably stop writing horoscopes
Back in mid-November, I started publishing weekly “astro-weather forecasts” and horoscopes. The theory here was that I wanted both an excuse to share some of my thoughts about astrology, and also to sort of get a better handle on the way I wanted to share them.
I’ve only ever done astrology consultations for family, friends, and friends-of-friends since I like to do at least a couple of hours of prep work before the consultation itself. That’s a lot of time and energy, so astrology consults aren’t something I’ve been super keen on offering to the general public.
That said, it is something I figure I’ll eventually offer. And back in September I decided that one way I could ease myself into doing astrology for public consumption was to write some weekly forecasts.
Well, it turns out that I hate writing horoscopes. In fact, I’m pretty sure I hate writing horoscopes more than I hate fixing computers.
See, while I knew at the outset that writing a horoscope column is obviously very different from working on a client’s chart and speaking with them, I figured there would be at least some overlap. And yes, you do still have to look at the planets, signs, houses, and aspects and break everything down, but…the presentation is just entirely different.
The most obvious difference is that, when I work with a client, I’m able to tailor my communication so that they get the information they need in a way in which it makes sense to them. When writing a horoscope column which could be read by people with wildly divergent levels of astrological knowledge? It’s just flat out impossible for me to feel like I’m effectively communicating.
And since becoming a more effective communicator of astrological information was kind of the whole reason I started writing the horoscopes to begin with, it feels like I’m wasting my time.
That said, I’m not one hundred percent sure that I’m done with the forecasts. I have several more already written and queued up, so you’ll keep seeing them on the blog until at least the middle of February.
After that, though? I wouldn’t count on it.
Write more about the magical work I’m doing (and my life in general)
If you’ve been reading my posts here, you might have noticed that I don’t often get very specific when it comes to the magical work that I do. This is a deliberate choice. Whether we’re talking about online or offline communication, I’ve held to a pretty firm rule against talking about any ongoing magical practices or ritual work in detail.
I may make a vague mention of “working with my ancestors” or “doing some daily cleansing” or what have you, but I don’t ever go into the specifics of what I’m doing when I’m doing it.
For example, at various times in my magical career I’ve made a daily habit of performing the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, a widely-known working which comes to us via the Golden Dawn. This ritual hasn’t been in my “toolbox” for a while, so I’m fine with discussing how I used it and what experiences it lead to, but I never talked about it with others when it was part of my routine.
There are a couple of reasons for this “silence,” but the biggest one is that I’ve always felt that sharing magical experiences with others, more or less as they were happening, would somehow diminish the experience. That’s not exactly what I mean, but it’s probably as close as words will allow me to get.
Regardless, I’ve had a few conversations over the past month or two which have made me question this. That is, I’ve shared something of my magical work with others and the result was not a diminishing, but rather quite the opposite. It created…wow, words just aren’t working for me today.
Let’s just say that the sharing of the experience with another person felt like its own sort of magical act. And that got me thinking about how much I want to write here going forward. In a word: more.
I also want to write more about my life in general, and not just keep this blog “all business.”
I hear tell that in this day and age it’s important to stay “on brand.” And since I’m a professional wizard I should probably stick to writing professional, wizardly things on here. But you know what? I’m kind of sick of trying to remain “professional-seeming” all the time.
Also? This is a blog, and if blogs aren’t the place for rambling, stream-of-consciousness personal commentary then I don’t know what is.
Get outside as much as humanly possible
Once the weather warms up in a few months, I have decided to make it my personal missions to spend as little time inside buildings as I can. I’m certain I don’t need to tell you why.
Hiking, fishing, and camping are all going to fill my days when spring comes along.
I also plan to re-arrange my porch so that it can comfortably serve as a kind of second office during the summer. That way, even when I have to stay close to home, I don’t have to be in the home.
An outdoor fireplace has kind of been on my list for a while, too, and this might just be the year to pull the trigger on that project.
I’ve only really settled on what I want to do during the first half of the year, and even then I’m trying to leave things at least somewhat open. Sure, I’ve got the goals I wrote above, but also? I don’t want 2021 to be nothing but to-do lists and schedules.
That’s the Big Lesson I got out of that late December “deflation” I mentioned way back in the beginning—leave yourself some room to relax, just in case we’re allowed to do that again.