*Someone once wrote (and I apologize in advance for forgetting whom) that, when an elder was asked to explain “The Craft,” she said, generally, that it meant, “Being sensible and believing in things like trees.” That’s good enough for me.
This week, in my Landbase, the maple trees and the oak trees are performing the Great Rite. I don’t know if they’d consider me their priestess; they have (I imagine, tree) priestesses of their own. But I am, if nothing else, a priestess of this Landbase and, so, along with the maple priestesses and the oak priestesses (my sister priestesses, if you will, and, I, most certainly will) this celebration of the Great Rite has been huge for me; it’s shaped day-to-day existence, my magic, my dreams (Whoa Nellie), and my life.
For the maple trees, the Great Rite looks like this, which, although from a rather distant landbase, is an accurate description of what’s going on in the air twenty feet and below in my own Bit of Earth. As you can imagine, my Japanese Maples make tiny little crimson “copters” for the Great Rite. Today was windy and I worked out on the porch. It was, well, magical.
The oak trees don’t have sex via little, whirling, ovaries. They have sex via huge drifts of, well, of oak semen. For all of the years that I’ve lived here, sweeping giant piles of oak semen off of the deck has been one of the final tasks that, as a priestess, I’ve done just before the Witches arrived to celebrate Beltane, and it’s always been a sacred, mindful task for me.
This year, well, this year in the Year of Serious Global Warming 003, this year, there are drifts of oak semen all over my yard at the end of the first week in April. And so, as the Moon wanes, I will be going out and sweeping mindfully (before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water). I put these giant, fluffy drifts into the compost bin; it’s the most magical place I know. For me, the compost bin replaces the Chalice and the Cauldron as deep-bellied centers of Magic.
*You do know that this Friday is Friday the Thirteenth, right?
*One of the surest ways for me to make some of my readers angry is for me to write about money. I think that, for all that we Pagans talk about not seeing matter as fallen and about seeing prosperity as good, at least when obtained w/o exploitation, we tend to never believe that exploitation is absent. But, here I go again.
This is the time of year when some of us get tax returns, some of us get profit-sharing payouts, and some of us see a bump in our income. Here are, once again, some basic rules for respecting income as a sacred manifestation of the energy that keeps moving around the universe.
If you owe any debt other than student debt and mortgage (generally this will be credit card debt and, maybe, auto loan debt), use the extra money (from a tax return, for example) to pay off the debt with the highest level of interest. (I swear, and I am a HUGE math-phobe, that no matter how scary you find this stuff, if just give yourself permission to look up and list your debts from highest level of interest (it shows up on your monthly bill) to lowest, you’ll be there. You can stop any time that it gets too scary. So, if you have three credit cards, look at the monthly bills and note the amount of interest that each credit card is charging you (e.g., 27.3%, 24%, 18.9%, etc.))
If there’s money left over, you can pay off student debt, and I’d do this if I could eliminate a BiiiiiiiiG chunk of student debt. Or, you can pay off your mortgage, but I’d only do this if I could pretty much eliminate the mortgage.
Otherwise, you need to take your weekly (net, aka, the amount they put into your account after taxes, etc.) salary and multiply that amount by 52. And then you need to make sure that you have that amount (weekly salary X 52) in a savings account. Yes, I know savings accounts are getting almost zero interest. But my advice, and feel free to (in fact, please do) check out the advice of people who know more than I do, but, whatever, my advice is: have a year’s worth of net salary in completely liquid (aka: you can get the money out in a moment’s notice w/o any problem) savings. This is a savings account at your local credit union, local bank, etc. This is money buried in a coffee can in your back yard. This is money in a safe deposit box that won’t get closed if odd things happen. This is money sewn into your mattress.
After that, and only after that, and only if you’re fully invested in a retirement plan, check out the calculators on the web that will show you how to pay off what is (one hopes) your 30 year fixed mortgage in 15 years. You can save yourself tens and tens of thousands of dollars by paying this off early.
OK, you can hate me now, in comments.
*Commenters who sent me their addresses should, w/in a week or so, be receiving their seeds. If you’re out of the U.S. and don’t get your seeds w/in a week or two, please let me know.
*Regular readers will know that Spout Run is sacred to me. When I call Air, I’ll be calling this. I was on Amtrak on Dec. 26th, and saw these parents picking up sticks for their nest. I emailed Son from the train and said, “I saw eagles!!” It’s been a major part of my spiritual practice, of my invocation of air, to call these eagles. And, now, to call their babies.
*And, speaking of finances, I grow more herbs than I can ever use. But one of the joys of my life is giving herbs away and I love to give them away in baskets, Baskets can be expensive. This is the BEST week to buy cheap baskets at the grocery store, the crafts store, etc., Just saying. I scored several dozen dollars’ worth today for under ten dollars.
*The work that I’ve been having done on my more-than-half-a-century-old house has been done on the foundation. Pace Jung, it’s led, as I’ve intertwined my own awareness with this Bit of Earth, to lots of interesting dreams and revelations. The company doing the work on my foundations was, shall we say, a bit less than honorable about their commitments. Almost a decade ago when I was buying this house, I read some comments about how women are less likely than men to negotiate for good terms. Since then, I’ve been v conscious about always negotiating about the terms of work on my house. When it turned out that the company working on the foundation wasn’t able to get the work done in anything like the promised amount of time, I began to demand that they make a consideration for my time in terms of hundreds of dollars. Today, they finished up the work and signed off at a discount of many hundreds of dollars. Money that I’d never have gotten if I’d not asked for it. I am just saying.
Photo by the blogger; if you copy please link back.