A Summer Update and Saying Goodbye to Posey

Wow, it has been quite a summer, both personally, and for the world at large.

In early July I somehow injured my knee and it still isn’t completely healed. I saw an osteopath recently and she thinks I might have a meniscal tear that could eventually require surgery. Yikes! That injury seemed to slow my momentum, both literally and figuratively. I feel like I’ve been living in suspended animation since then, unable to make any forward progress in any area of my life. It has also kept me from being able to walk much, hike, dance, or do yoga, which is definitely not great for my mental health!

My personal year card is 12 – The Hanged One, and I’m definitely feeling that energy.*** Like I’m stuck, hanging, and have few options except to just let go and surrender to whatever process is taking place right now. It isn’t exactly an unpleasant place to be, in a strange way it is kind of restful, but occasionally my brain kicks in with “You should be busy (fill in the blank with a million things)!” and I start to feel frustrated and overwhelmed with the inertia.

I did my Lammas Tarot Reading on August 2, using the Tarot of the Crone, and my “Overall Theme” card was Shadow of Disks, a barren landscape of physical loss and/or illness. My “Challenge” card was Beast of Wands, which features a cat. My 17 year-old cat Posey was diagnosed with an abdominal tumor (possibly lymphoma) in the spring, and though I don’t normally read tarot in a predictive way, seeing those two cards next to each other I just knew that I would be losing her before Autumn Equinox. The very next day she started to take a turn for the worse.

We were able to get her stabilized and I was blessed with a little over two more weeks of her presence. The weekend before the solar eclipse she was doing quite well, and we had a wonderful couple of days of snuggling on the couch and hanging out in the yard together. Then on August 21st, after the eclipse, I noticed that her legs looked strange and she seemed distressed. I realized that she wasn’t able to move one of her back legs. It was time. We took her to the vet to be put to sleep, and her passing was peaceful, but it wasn’t easy to say goodbye to my wonderful girl. She was the sweetest, most gentle cat I have ever known.

My sweet Posey Rose

I’ve been in a bit of a daze since then, and the same day she died the smoke from the wildfires burning all around us here got really bad, and it hasn’t improved much since then. It hasn’t been possible to spend much time outdoors or to go to the river where I usually seek peace and solace.

To help with the grief, I created a memory journal for Posey, using writing prompts from the book When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. I used this book and the journaling prompts when my other cat Priscilla died three years ago, and I highly recommend it if you are dealing with the loss of a pet.

I created a little memorial altar to her on the evening of her death with a pink candle carved with a heart and a rainbow, a few of her favorite toys, and her food and water dishes. I lit the candle each evening for the first three nights after she died and let it burn out on the third night to light her way on the next phase of her journey. I do believe that all souls move on after death in some capacity, and I hope that we’ll be reunited with those we’ve loved, though perhaps not in the forms we know them now.

So, it has not been an easy summer, or a particularly pleasant one, but somehow it all feels okay, like this is a necessary transition period that I need to make my way through.

And good things have happened, too! I took Lisa Sonora’s Creative + Practice course, and have fallen even more in love with creative journaling. Regular creative practice and journaling has been a big support for me through all of these challenges.

I adopted a kitty I named Winnie from our local shelter, because I just couldn’t stand having a completely quiet, empty house after Posey was gone. Winnie is about a year old and is playful, affectionate, and silly—she makes me laugh on a regular basis and has definitely helped with the grieving process. I like to think that welcoming her into the house and thereby freeing up room for another kitty to be saved at the shelter honors Posey’s life, since she was a stray, too.

Winnie

I’ve also started learning macrame (because I really need another hobby—ha!), and have been enjoying it. There is something very soothing about tying knots over and over again.

I am really looking forward to fall, and to the rains returning. We desperately need some rain to dampen down the fires, clear out the smoke, and give all the firefighters and those who are fearing for their homes and properties a break.

My heart has also been grieved by the events in Charlottesville, and the flooding in Texas and South Asia. I don’t even have words for all that has been happening in our country and across the world. It takes time for me to process these kind of things, and I’m still sitting with it all. It really has been quite a summer, hasn’t it?

I plan to get back to regular blogging now, and will have a new 15 Quiet Minutes post up for next week’s full moon. I also added a few new rosaries to my Etsy shop yesterday. I’m especially smitten with this labradorite one, its energy is perfect for the transition into the dark part of the year.

I guess all we can do is hang in there. We’ll get through all of this, and hopefully we’ll come out stronger on the other side.

Blessings.

***To determine your personal tarot year card, add 2017+your birth month+your birth day. For example, if you were born on 2/15, you’d add 2017+2+15=2034. Then add those numbers together: 2+0+3+4=9. Your personal year card would be 9, The Hermit. If the numbers add up to 22, your card is 0, The Fool. If they add up to 23 or more, reduce them again by adding the two digits together, for example if you have 28, 2+8=10, and your year card is 10, The Wheel of Fortune. This system was devised my Mary K. Greer, and more information about tarot year cards can be found in her books Tarot for Yourself, and Who Are You in the Tarot?.

Success!

Catching the rabbit went much more smoothly than I had anticipated! Sunday afternoon my next-door neighbor came over to tell me the rabbit was the yard between our houses. I went out and managed to get him corralled in a fenced area of my yard. Then I sat out there with him, talking to him, sending him Reiki, and offering food and little treats like bits of apple and banana. He was pretty calm and had no problem taking the treats from me.

After a while I went in to get a snack of cheese and soda crackers for myself, and brought it outside to eat. As soon as I sat down a very excited rabbit came over and put his paws on my leg begging for crackers. I had found the magic food to entice him into the cage! First, I looked online to make sure they wouldn’t make him sick (they really shouldn’t have food like this, but a few small bites wouldn’t hurt him).  A couple of tiny bites of cracker in the carrier and voila—I had caught myself a rabbit!

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Meet Mr. Bumbles. Adorable, right?

I kept him in my bathroom that night and spent most of the evening in there with him. Somehow his name morphed from Bun Bun Nickles to Bumbles as I spent time with him. It only took him a few hours to get used to me and he was soon coming over asking to be petted. Of course, I fell madly in love with him and tossed and turned all night worrying about taking him to the shelter the next day, but I know my living situation is just not right for a rabbit at this time.

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Rabbit flop! I did a lot of reading about rabbits and learned that when they are content, they flop over on their sides like this. The first time he did it, though, I was afraid he was having a heart attack!

So, with a heavy heart, I packed him up Monday morning and took him to the shelter. I expected to leave there crying and miserable, but they were so nice and reassuring. The woman who helped me get him into his cage was obviously very knowledgeable about rabbits, which made me feel better. They said they have really good success adopting out rabbits, and all I could do was hope and pray that he would find a really wonderful home.

I came home exhausted and took a nap. When I got up, I finally got around to doing my daily tarot card draw, and when I looked closely at the card I laughed out loud—there is a brown rabbit on the card!

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From the Gaian Tarot

This made me feel so much better, like Goddess was saying, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.” May Mr. Bumbles find a wonderful home like this, full of tasty things to eat and someone to love him unconditionally and take excellent care of him. So mote it be!

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I mean, seriously, who could resist this face???

Highs, Lows, and a Rabbit

It has been an up-and-down couple of weeks around here. I came down with a cold that lasted over a week and lost my momentum blogging and making art. We also had a series of storms come through that brought us over nine inches of rain in about five days, so between my cold and the weather, I spent a lot of time stuck indoors.

This past Tuesday was my mom’s surgery day, and I spent the morning sending her Reiki and prayers at the healing altar I set up for her. I also drew The Star as my card of the day—hope, faith, peace, grace—such an encouraging message for the day!

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My healing altar for my mom

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A message of grace and hope

My mom came through the surgery very well, and once she was home and resting, I took advantage of finally getting over my cold and a partly sunny afternoon to get outside. Oh my gosh, how I needed that!

I went to the same park where I spent the Autumn Equinox, and was surprised to see how much higher the river was after all of the rain. The rocks I had been sitting on at the edge of the river were now mostly submerged and very far from the shore!

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That rock way out there is the one I was sitting on at the Equinox!

A couple of very nice older men came down to the river while I was there. They have been coming up every year for twenty-five years to fish for steelhead, and we marveled over how high the river was this early in the season and swapped flood stories with each other. When we started talking about birds, they told me how they had a Great Blue Heron land behind their chairs while they were fishing and demand part of their catch. If they didn’t volunteer to share, he just helped himself! They had really gotten a kick out of him and had been happy to share what they referred to as “garbage catch” with him.

I took a walk, singing songs of gratitude and blessing to myself and admiring the fall color. I also saw a large flock of wild turkeys. I felt so blessed!

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Beautiful autumn color

I spent the rest of the afternoon helping my mom, who was feeling remarkably well after her surgery. But then came a very big low—a family member accidentally hit one of the neighborhood cats as they pulled into our driveway. The neighbor he belonged to was thankfully very gracious about it (he was an outdoor cat and tended to be more of a “neighborhood cat” than a family pet), and I was frantically making phone calls to find a vet that could take him in to euthanize him because he was very badly hurt.

It was horrible. Awful. He was a favorite visitor and came to see us often for treats and attention, and we were all heartbroken and a bit traumatized. I’m still not really over it yet. It’s amazing how quickly a good day can be turned on its head, isn’t it?

But good news came yesterday—my mom is cancer free! They found no other cancer around the lump they removed or in her lymph nodes. A big, big sigh of relief and much gratitude is being felt around here!

Then last night I discovered what was obviously a pet rabbit running around in our yard. I asked my neighbor if he knew anything about it, and he said the rabbit showed up a couple of weeks ago and has been hanging out under another neighbor’s porch. This morning I talked with that neighbor about trying to catch the rabbit and take him to a shelter for adoption, and he agreed I could set up a feeding station and trap in his yard where the rabbit seems to spend most of his time. So I spent today running around buying rabbit food and renting a live trap from the animal shelter and generally trying to figure out how to catch a rabbit! Wish me luck! I’ve named the little cutie Bun Bun Nickles.

I keep thinking back to my Autumn Equinox tarot reading and how accurately it has played out so far. It has been a crazy few weeks. I’m hoping for a bit more calm from here on out. Well, once I am able to catch Bun Bun Nickles, anyway!