Yearly tracking for 2023

It is the time of year when I have both updated my tracking plans for the year, and can actually post about them.

I don’t have a lot of changes from last year in terms of the overall system (a journal in which I do a weekly layout to help me see what’s coming up, daily notes in Obsidian, and a tracking spreadsheet to rule them all…)

And even the spreadsheet is mostly the same.

In other words, go look at last year’s posts for the details.

However, I did want to highlight a couple of spreadsheet changes in case they’re useful for anyone else.

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Witch in Practice – Leo and Virgo seasons

I managed not to do a writeup in August (August is just a hard month, all.) And tomorrow’s my birthday, so doing this today.

Coven

Two bits of big exciting news since my last post.

First, if all goes well, we will have a new initiate Sunday night. We’ve been trying to figure out the timing for this for a while, and September hit “as good as we’re going to get for being in close proximity in a ritual where we can’t mask.” for timing as we’re likely to get. We did the pre-cursor part for our tradition initiation last week, and it was the first time I’d had anyone in my apartment (other than brief landlord things) since March of 2020.

(A non-trivial part of my initiation prep has been “mop all the floors thoroughly” and decluttering more visible bits of what will be in line of sight for the initiation proper.)

I have been saying that it puts a different spin on “perfect love and perfect trust”, modified by a bit of science. I still need to continue being cautious for health reasons (I am still masking at work and avoiding face to face conversations when there are other options) so this is pretty far into my risk budget, comparatively.

For people contemplating similar things, we are testing beforehand, and being good about communicating possible exposures. We also have a backup date already planned if we need it. I have good air filters, and I’m going to leave my bedroom closed up so that when we’re done I can retreat there for the rest of the night and let the filters do their thing some more. (I also got my booster last week, so it will be close to full effect by the time we do the initiation.)

Second, we have four brand new Dedicants. I’m very excited to get into the classes of Dedicant year with them! I spent August wrapping up the last Seeker classes with them.

Witchy

I got to do a communal Lughnasadh ritual with two college friends and their families in early August. We hadn’t done it for two years for the obvious reasons, and it was really great to see them, see their kids, and have those bits of tradition back. (And it being three households, one of them just me, and outside except for bathroom access made it a lot easier for us to think through risks and concerns.)

I had an astrology reading focused on fixed stars and some remediation in early September with Amaya Rourke of Empress Craft, which was fantastic, and I’m working on building some of what came out of that into my witchy and devotional practice.

Personal

I have been hard at work on the writing. The book launch I’m particularly nervous about is coming November 4th, but I’ve had some other good things to share (and August’s book release did nicely.) I’m currently enmeshed in a book where one of the plots has to do with witchcraft rituals to keep Hitler on the other side of the channel in the summer of 1940, which is an interesting challenge to write.

The rest of my head has been rather busily taken up with one of my roleplaying characters. This is a Deliria game (think the intersection of our world and faerie – and fairy tales.) It’s been one of those glorious times when the character experiences have me thinking about a whole lot of how I want to be in the world, and what that looks like, as well as being a great deal of fun in play. It’s also produced a great playlist.

(Isobel, my character, is currently busily working on embroidering something for Thomas, and building as much magic into it as she can wrangle. As you do when you’ve fallen in love unexpectedly. And had some other complicated initiatory magical events that have completely rewritten your idea of what you want to be doing with yourself.)

Witch in Practice – Cancer season

Coven

We’ve started with a new series of Seekers, and those conversations are going really well so far! Our first Seeker class was on June 18th, the second was on July 9th, and our third is coming up on Saturday.

We’ve also had:

  • Two chats
  • Initiate discussion
  • And discussion about what we want to look at reading and doing for that next.

Witchy

My personal practice has been on the quieter side. I’ve finished doing a whole bunch of early Wiccan history reading for an upcoming book (I have some more things I may nose around at, but I have done enough to write the outline the way I needed to.)

Rest of my life

Writing is going well, though I have a book about to go into editing and one I’m about to start writing that are both leveling up books (and so I am nervous and excited about how that’s going to go.)

Summer is not my best season (and also, I have a whole bunch of medical appointments, and while they have all individually been going quite well, they’re tiring.) So it’s been a lot of “do the thing, fall over.” around here, but that at least often comes with a purring cat.

Job descriptions

Our initiate discussion group for the coven has been working through Thorn Mooney’s The Witch’s Path, a chapter a month (it has been great for that!). We’re on the last chapter now, and one of the possible exercises involves writing up a description of what’s your job (specific to your witchcraft and/or group participation) and what isn’t.

This happened to coincide this weekend with a couple of emails and a couple of discussions online that made me want to sit down and figure out where my lines are (what’s mine to do, what’s not mine to do.) I’m quite certain I’ll continue to adjust and add things (and possibly remove some things) but I thought the draft might be helpful.

Below, I talk about several different constellations of things:

  • The larger context of my life (everything going on that isn’t the explicitly witchy bits)
  • My personal practice
  • Coven life
  • Larger community interactions as a priestess
  • Things that are not my job
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Witch in Practice – Gemini season

(And catching up a bit since April!)

Coven

We have been cheerfully chugging along as a coven. We’re currently trying to figure out when to schedule an initiation (I still need to be cautious, and that involves a couple of hours of unmasked time in a not very large room…)

We have had:

  • Beltane
  • Initiate discussion in May and June (Still working through Thorn Mooney’s The Witch’s Path which continues to be a really good choice for this.)
  • Litha ritual

And, excitement! A new round of Seeker classes. We have five Seekers starting class with us, and the first class on June 18th was great – some good discussion, a nice mix of people and perspectives, and I’m excited to continue.

Witchy

My personal witchy life is also going along contentedly, if quietly. I’ve been doing a bit of personal study, and a fair bit of reading about witchcraft (or possible witchcraft…) in the New Forest in 1939 and 1940 (as research for an upcoming book, the novel I’m going to start writing in August.)

This is a lot more research than I usually do (or at least a lot more detailed) but I’m trying to build a timeline of specific events to riff on. Good news, no one can agree on when the rituals to keep Hitler on the far side of the Channel happened (or if they happened) nor who was there. Bad news, no one can agree….

(This leaves me quite a lot of fictional space, which is actually quite useful for my goals for the book, but it’s taking me more wrangling time than I usually plan on. On the plus side, I’m getting to read some really interesting history and connections between bits of it.)

Personal

There’s a reason I didn’t manage to update last month – a regular check-in with my doctor in April found a bunch of stuff had tipped from “Let’s keep an eye on that” to “That is worrying directions” (Nothing imminently dire, but – yeah, let’s fix that.)

Two new meds, two med changes, some side effects, and three new medical provider appointments later…

(One of those medical appointments was because my primary care was leaving the practice, and I wanted to start off with the new one.)

Things are going on a much better trend, but I have several more related appointments this summer (and two more routine maintenance ones.) None of which are my favourite way to spend time, and some of the things I need to do are still taking a lot of time, energy, and mental processing space.

Writing continues to go well. I’m hoping to have some mental space to poke at some new ideas for the chats and other material I was doing through the spring sometime soon, so keep an eye here, Patreon, or the Discord if you want updates on that. (Sometime. Probably not until sometime in July.)

Witch in Practice: Aries

Coven

A quiet month – we have continued our discussion of The Witch’s Path by Thorn Mooney, which continues to be a great book for this purpose.

We’re hoping to get together for a picnic for Beltane (outside, unmasked) which would be very exciting.

Witchy

Low-key for me, largely due to medical reasons (see below). I have been steadily working on notes about what was going on in witchcraft and esoteric circles in (mostly) England in 1939 and 1940, in service of the book I’m going to be working starting in August (half of the plot has to do wtih the magical work to repel Hitler from crossing the Channel.)

It’s a fascinating mix of things I’d read or come across before and new tidbits that make me blink. Not directly related to my doing of witchcraft but still relevant. (Most of the stories that we have are decidedly more “Craft myth” than anything that can be documented or proven. Fortunately for my fiction to be written, since this also leaves me a lot of space to move around in.)

Mostly, though, my personal practice has been very low-key and quiet, bar attending an online ritual via the Cornucopia Collective, focused on Mercury and Rosmerta, two of my favourites. (A previous ritual from Shelley is what introduced me to working with them, and I honour them particularly related to my writing and related abundance in its many forms.)

Personal

A bit rocky, thanks to a routine doctor’s appointment at the beginning of April finding I’d tipped over into “Let’s add two meds we’ve been on the edge of for a while” and a dose change in another. I have an endocrinologist appointment at the end of May, when there may be some more adjustments.

Health work is sort of tiring all by itself, but I had a temporary but wobbly-making reaction to one of the new meds (now much improved, and it’s working, so that’s fine), and the other one has fatigue as a side effect, and yep, that’s me.

(I’m at about 2017 levels of fatigue – my awful health crash was 2009-2010, and this is not that complete exhaustion, but 2017 levels mean I have to carefully pick and choose how much activity I do of basically all kinds. It’s annoying to be back here after a couple of years of “I can clean *and* go for a walk *and* cook something that takes multiple steps for dinner” being an option on the same day pretty reliably. On the other hand, I have coping skills for this, and I’m using them.)

However, it also comes with me going from basically fine to ‘entirely out of me’ with not a ton of notice, especially later in the afternoon or evening, which is… an annoying limit. And makes witchy stuff more complicated.

Witch in Practice : Pisces season

Coven

  • Initiate discussion (still working on Thorn Mooney’s The Witch’s Path which is producing some really great discussion and chances to talk through specific pieces of practices.)
  • Ostara (recommitting to our goals for the year, since Imbolc was less of a ritual than we’d hoped.)

A chat with the initiate who’s been on leave for the past six months ended up at “too many other things in her life right now”. (She is welcome back any time, she’s juggling a lot!)

Witchy stuff

My February and March were largely eaten by writing an attack novel, so I have been light on my own practice and learning on the witchy side. However, I’ve started (in the previous week or so) taking notes for a writing project that involves figuring out who was around the New Forest doing witchy things, specifically in the September 1939 to September 1940 time frame.

This involves a lot of delightful comparison of sources. (I’m really enjoying Michael Howard’s Modern Wicca on this front, for a combo of well-cited info, and putting it in a useful sequence.)

Other life

As of a week ago, I’m commuting two days a week again. Which eats a lot of energy. However, it’s nice to see my stacks and collection. The writing is going great (see the attack novel – I wrote 90K words in 32 days, through the first week in March.)

Witch in Practice – Aquarius season

A little late, not least because it’s been a pretty quiet monthish around here.

Coven

We’ve been particularly quiet here – we had Imbolc ritual on February 5th, modified last minute because I hit some of my chronic health issues flaring, and was in the land of “probably shouldn’t pick up things I don’t want to break” (among other issues, but some of my stuff makes me extra clumsy during a flare, which does not go well with ritual safety in several dimensions.)

Witchy

On the personal front, I’ve been slowly puttering through some ongoing reading and thinking (astrology, some other topics, ongoing slow-pased working through a course.) Work has produced a couple of sizeable projects starting in the middle of January, and so I’ve been busy with that with my brain.

(Usually I have ongoing shorter reference questions, one biggish project, and some ongoing stuff, so when it’s the questions and three biggish projects all at once, it’s a bit more demanding juggling them.)

The rest of my life

The current writing projects have been going fantastically, so I’ve been making the most of wordcount opportunities. I’ve also had a lot of fun with several bits of role-playing games currently in my life, and a moderate amount of reading for pleasure. Again, nothing flashy, mostly quiet, but satisfying.

Witch in Practice : Capricorn season

Coven

We’ve been quiet, due to the holidays.

  • Yule (December 18th) – super simple, we had two people out sick.
  • Initiate discussion (January 8th) – we’ve started discussing the Witch’s Path by Thorn Mooney. This was talking through what we explored from Chapter 1, and talking about chapter 2.

We’re currently in a holding pattern for an upcoming initation until local cases drop and we’re willing to do something that requires some ‘right next to you’ positioning and other things.

Witchy

We did the fourth SKFW chat on the 8th as well, talking about reasearch organisation.

One of the things I’ve done for the past several years is to take extra time off between winter solstice and new year’s. It’s usually an extra quiet time at work (part of how I make this work is to log in and quickly check nothing urgent has happened and clear out my ‘random emails I get that I don’t need to do anything with’ stuff not otherwise filtered. But I get to do it on my own time, 5 minutes every couple of days.)

But basically, I sleep late, spend a lot of time reading on the couch, work through some personal projects (this time something related to the authorial wiki.) And I spend time being quiet.

I start that period by doing the Up All Night Yule vigil I’ve done for a number of years. This year I made it to 3am again. I also do some spinning, making yarn for ritual use for the year between Yule and New Year’s.

Personal

As noted above, I spent a lot of my vacation time doing authorial things. As of when I write that blog post, I finally feel sorta vaguely caught up with a bunch of things (though still, y’know, with a long list.)

My job went back to “only on campus if actually vital” except for students and student-facing staff (which I’m not) so I am happily not leaving the house again except for the occasional allergy shot and similar. The cat approves.

Witch in Practice: Sagittarius season

First, if you haven’t seen them, three posts on yearly planning, with various witchy relevant bits.

Part 1: Tools
Part 2: Yearly and quarterly planning
Part 3: Weekly planning and tracking

Coven:

Moderately quiet.

  • November 20th: Full moon ritual and Dedicant class
  • December 4th: Initiate discussion and Dedicant class.
  • December 16th: Chat
  • December 18th: Planned for Yule ritual (virtual) but alas, not so much.

We’ve moved into discussing Thorn Mooney’s latest book, The Witch’s Path for our initiate discussion (with our one ‘not yet initiated, we’ll be figuring out scheduling as soon as we can after February’) – the book focuses on a number of different topics, with exercises to try, and we each picked one that fit for us.

(I am, um, not doing great with making the time for that part, but I have some more time this week and next.)

We were hoping for Yule ritual, but two of four of us were sick when we got to that point of the week (we were already planning to meet virtually as we continue to do for the time being, but neither of them was up to being on a call. Not Covid, we think.)

Witchy:

  • A class on “Who’s Your Timelord?” (profection years/astrological ruler of your year) from Kirah Tabourn. (I hit “Can’t stand to look at a video call” about 45 minutes in, and need to go back and listen to the recording, but what I caught so far was great, and the replay should be available for general purchase in her store in the not too distant future)
  • Another of the research and practice chats, this one about living with other people and seasonal practices. The January call will probably be about something research related, but I’m open to what that looks like.

I have just started transferring notes from my weekly planning journal to a separate journal for classes, workshops, etc. (I also keep these in Obsidian, a text-based tool with good linking overlay, but I’ve found handwriting summaries gets the info in my head better, and I also like it for notes on related meditations/exercises.)

Personal:

I again made an attempt at Up All Night with the Cauldron, and again gave up around 3am. (Too much incipient headache.)

A novella collection got released on December 10th (I had releases in August, September, early November, and December, which is in fact a whole lot, and I am done with that now until February, though I am staring down some self-imposed deadlines for more writing, and I need to spend some quality time on editing during my vacation.)

Fortunately, I’ve got vacation from work from last Friday (the 17th) through January 2nd, and I’m doing my best to make the most of it – a mix of witchy learning, editing, a project for my books, and a bunch of reading.

(Wish me luck on that one, I am attempting to reread Triumph of the Moon and Women of the Golden Dawn partly for fiction-writing purposes, as well as reading Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley over this vacation. I am not attempting to take notes on them, this is a “read to get some scaffolding in my head” pass.)