Spiritual Compost in the Liminal Space

Franz_Marc_CroppedIt’s December 28th. I’ve always felt that the week between Xmas and the new year is a strange, uncomfortable time, even if it is still technically the neopagan Yul. I can never “settle” into this week. Life is on hold. Everything seems like a waiting game and that’s even more true this year than ever before. After all, the Lord of Sadly Extended Misrule has decreed a government shut-down and “I’m…waiting for the Dems…” (sung to the tune of Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for The Man.”).

It’s a liminal time, a liminal space, a between time. I’ve been emotionally and physically exhausted, living on Xmas breakfast leftovers (not wanting to go the grocery store), and spending far too much time in bed binge-watching Travelers, an utterly dystopian experience. I’m letting myself vegetate without guilt. It’s a form of spiritual composting. So with a mild “turning” of the composted dregs of this last year, I’ve done a little bit of psychic culling and a bit of forward thinking. Yesterday I even emerged from the torpor and resumed working on the novels again. However, I am doing so with limited expectations for creative production during the rest of the week, even though the making of art requires habitation of liminal states.


Here’s a quote from this article about liminal space and liminal states of mind:

You can define liminal space in several different ways. It’s talked about as a threshold, and indeed, the etymology of liminal comes from the Latin root word “limen,” which means threshold. Liminal spaces are transitional or transformative spaces. They are the waiting areas between one point in time and space and the next.

Often, when we are in liminal spaces, we have the feeling of just being on the verge of something. Liminal space is, of course, a literal space. And there are plenty of examples of physical liminal spaces… But there are also spaces of liminality in our mental states. This, too, is a type of liminal space.


This idea of spiritual composting is something I’ve snagged from Caroline Casey, the astrologer who hosts the Visionary Activist program on Pacifica radio stations. It’s been a helpful concept for years, giving a sense of appreciation and purpose to these strange, fallow “down times.”

During this liminal period between two major holidays, when I seem to belong nowhere in particular–certainly not to the same sense of family that I had a few years ago–that I appreciate (yet again) my patron deity, Loki. He is a spirit of liminality and “chaos” (creative chaos, the swirling source of all). If I remember to do it, I can offer up my sense of discomfort as well as the eventual growth that will emerge fern-like from the debris that’s scattered about, seemingly to little purpose.

LOKI_0031-897x1024Loki helps me to remember the heat that’s generated in a compost heap, when dregs and discards combine in a vibrant alchemy, cooking away the toxins and creating fertile soil. Promises lurk under the surface (just add water!). Eventually seeds will burst open and climb toward the sun through the muck, transforming the landscape. So it is with our minds and spirits.

So, in this coming year, I look forward to yet another cycle of pheonix burning and pheonix rising; composting and regenerating… It’s tiring, but with the help of my deities and ancestors, and Loki in particular, I hope to navigate 2019 with more heart, more courage, and more magic than last year.

Wishing you all well, in the coming year.

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To the Stars

As a child of the sixties, growing up in California, I can affirm that “what’s your sign?” was probably the second (if not first) thing people asked a new acquaintance back then (sometimes even before “what’s your name?” and “can I have a toke?”)

2560px-Magical_animal_IV,_shadow_puppet_from_Shaanxi_Province,_19th_century,_Lin_Liu-Hsin_Museum

Well, that’s mine. Something you wouldn’t want to find in a boot, let alone nesting in the pages of a cookbook (an early childhood memory from my paternal grandparents’ home in Mesa, Arizona).

However, as a teenage attendee of “love-ins,” I began to get a certain thrill from answering truthfully (I always answered truthfully…) and then watching people back away, slowly. Really, that happened about half the time. I’d say “Scorpio” and wow, instant doubling of my personal space. Cool! Of course the other half of the time, if the questioner were male, there was also the risk of instant decreasing of personal space, as we Scorpios were known to be sex-crazed. No matter that I was underage. (Yes, things could get creepy quickly back then.)

In the decades since, I’ve cultivated a healthy sense of Scorpio pride, as well as a mild sense of self-ridicule for taking such things “seriously.” But I can’t help it, the Zodiac archetypes are so much fun and mine in particular are so…flattering. Plus, most of my best friends are Scorps (or at least water signs).

My recent serious pursuit of magic studies has brought me back to a slightly deeper consideration of stellar omens and archetypes. And a recent personal crisis led me to review a rather stunning reading I had in January, 2016 from the renowned Caroline Casey, an astrologer and host of the Visionary Activist show on KPFA, 94.1 FM, Berkeley. This reading was a splurge, and took place just a couple of days before I moved to Hawai’i.

This reading was spot-on as Casey described (1) the events of the previous year and their timing (almost to the day!) and (2) my deepest inner responses to a range of life situations. This reading was ninety minutes of pure pleasure and not just because it was “all about me.” It was deeply pleasurable because Casey is a vibrant, nimble wordsmith who meshes mythic image and narrative with a compassionate, free-range “I Cover the Cosmos” perspective. Beautiful language, telling insights, and tons of humor. And she is a damned amazing astrologer. The reading was FUN.

I’ve listened to the recording twice in the last week. I took notes the second time. I’ll say too that it was difficult for me to listen to my 2016 self, at the time naively hopeful in the prospect of making a new (post-divorce) life in Hawai’i, but the reading also contained the germ of why things went so badly once I got there.

According to Casey, I’m “a kind Scorpio, yay!” My “strong fuels” are curiosity and liberation. I’m “increasingly allergic to tyranny.” (Yep!) And most of my action takes place in Scorpio in the fifth house, with Sun, Saturn, Mercury, Venus, and an asteroid, Pallas Athena. (Practically destined to be a sexologist…) And I’ve got two quintiles! That’s hella cool and rare!

Other highlights included strong “trickster” Uranus affinities, and such themes as “metabolizing poisons by conjuring the antidote” (quite appropriate given my multiple chemical sensitivity situation) and “compassion with sizzle.” And according to Casey, “the underworld is my beat” and “the dreamworld is my companion.” Sounds about right.

Casey also said “better a trickster than a martyr” and cautioned me that “no sign is more effective at broadcasting its inner assessment of others than Scorpio.” (Sorry, folks. I try to be polite and kind. Guess it hasn’t worked.)

So I’m super-tempted to save my pennies and have another reading. Getting back to California soil took almost everything I had (literally) and I’m still emotionally and physically convalescent. I’d love to have more insight into the immediate past and perhaps a glance at upcoming rays of light and bumps in the road.

A friend of mine once took a sailing lesson in the San Francisco Bay from a recent New York transplant. She asked him, “So, Tony, what’s the difference between the two coasts?” He answered, “Back deah, I wuz a wop. Out heah, I’m a Pisces.” (Sorry for the use of a perjorative, but that’s what he said.) Me? I’m a California girl. It shows.

This chart below is from astro.com. It doesn’t mention my friend, Pallas Athena, the asteroid. I’m placing it on this blog because, what the heck, out heah, I’m a Scorpio! You might as well know the worst. Be warned!

astro_w2gw_amy_marsh.60362.28778

Any fellow travelers? Let me know you’re here–and if you need to keep your distance, I’ll understand…

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