Fire II. (Fire musing + sharing my Fire altar.)

Hello, my friends. Today is a languid, quiet day, and I’ve spent a good part of it connecting with the fire element. I woke up feeling the call of it. I listen and take action. Fire is about action, after all. Action, transformation, passion, will, courage, among other things. It’s such a gift from Nature to receive the pull toward her elements. Energies unbound in the element are incredible forces.

Fire, to me, is a mysterious and powerful element, the one with which I most resonate. I’m an Earth sign, but my moon is Fire, and your moon sign describes how you express your emotions. Working with Fire energy feels natural.

I love fire scrying in a flame at the end of a long wooden match, then watching it burn itself into nothingness, thin ribbons of smoke unraveling upward through the air, releasing secret messages… a little ritual I do at night when I light the candles on my desk and on the fire altar to the side. Other times, I’ll fixate on an intention burning in my mind while focusing on the flame, and then I imagine it coming to pass as the fire extinguishes, the rising smoke channeling my intention up and dispersing it out into the Universe.

I overdid it with my healing hand yesterday, and today I’m feeling it, so I’m mostly relaxing at my desk. I did, however, remove the items from my Fire altar (next to my desk), clean the shelf, dust each object, and put everything back in a slightly new arrangement. I thought I’d share a pic here for any of you who may be interested in such things. It amounts to most of what I’ve done with this gorgeous day:

Fire altar, current

The colors on this altar are all color correspondences with the element of Fire… yellow, orange, red, gold.

From left: Cast iron cauldron for burning (mostly petitions and woods such as cinnamon sticks); snake plant (one of Fire’s botanical correspondences); yellow and orange votive candle holders – the orange one holds a spool of glittery black twine; tree section coaster holding a red candle and Fire-corresponding minerals of red jasper, Fire opal, carnelian, golden tiger’s eye, and moldavite; a gold bell, and an orange jar holding a wooden wand. The pentagram – which is a representation of nature and her elements, nothing more – holds a yellow metallic votive candle holder, a Fire energy oil blend that I made, a (bowl) bell, a stone/ceramic disc with a depiction of the Sun, the bell’s wooden striking stick, and a glass tube containing paper, herbs, and clear quartz crystals. A brass Sun ornament hangs on the wall next to the snake plant. The Sun is to Fire what the Moon is to Water.

May this find you all healthy and well! Until mid-week, my friends.

“She is ball of energy. She is fire. Holding her back will leave your hands burned.” (Fire I.)

There are three aspects of fire: The smoke. The flame. The ash.

And they’re all powerfully magickal.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve gotten down to taking selfies, and since I usually do a selfie photo-shoot sometime in October with respect to Halloween season, I decided that yesterday was the day. Last night, rather. I took these pics at around 8:30pm, sitting at my desk and doing what I do. Being myself. Over the last year I’ve healed and grown and journeyed my way into my potential, sliding consciously into the reality in my blood, and I discovered that it’s fire… and that it was fire all along. I just needed rekindling. I’m sure that my fiery Aries moon helped a lot. It was a culmination of realizations earlier this month that brought me here.

Speaking of Aries moon, did you see the incredible Aries full moon that rose last week? I still intend to resume writing lunar event posts. I’ll likely get back to it in January. New year, fresh start.

[23 Oct 2021]
[23 Oct 2021]
Selfie-ing for the first time in a while. [23 October 2021]

I’m never going to get better at this. My selfie photo-shoots are time-consuming because I take 5,000 pics in order to give myself a better chance at finding ones that please me, and then I take those and re-size them, and that’s it; after all this time, I still refuse to learn how to do things in photoshop (I don’t even have photoshop), and I don’t use filters. I will, however, sometimes set a lamp in front of my face, as I did in some of these pics. I find that I can’t really alter my expression while I’m taking pics. It is what it is. (Props to Instagram people who know how to do things and do them so well that it becomes their main source of income!)

At some point, I stopped “posing” and just took pics unselfconsciously, freezing still in my casual activity for the second I’d want to snap a pic.

Intentions. [23 Oct 2021]

I pushed away from the desk. I sang a song, as I do.

Raising energy. [23 Oct 2021]
The flame. [23 Oct 2021]
The smoke. [23 Oct 2021]

Blessings to you all, my friends.


Short Horror October will resume with my next post. Apologies for the lack of a horror short this weekend. This will give you a chance to catch up, though, for any of you follow and fell behind.



1. A person who has withdrawn from society and lives a solitary existence; a recluse.


Yesterday, we went out. We had to. Our refrigerator contained the following:

Ketchup; mustard (2 kinds); pickles (2 kinds); mayonnaise; jam (2 kinds); butter; Omega-3 buttery spread; lemons (2); taco sauce (the last of my favorite kind, from the States); pure maple syrup (also from the States); soy milk; grapefruit juice; two open cans of cat food (2 kinds); and the requisite open container of baking soda stashed in the back.

As some wise person once said: “Man cannot live on condiments alone. Or on cat food. Or on baking soda.”

Honestly? Had we had a grain of coffee or a crust of bread, we wouldn’t have left the house. It was the lack of coffee and bread that did it. We had no choice.

We had to put on pants.

It might sound like I’m being facetious, but I’m really not. Isolation is a by-product of working from home in the wilderness, and being isolated makes us feel like who cares if we’re dressed or not.

Aside from the occasional appointment, we only emerge into society when we run out of food. It’s an event. We fire up the truck and lumber down through the woods to our gate and out onto the private road, stop to take the wheels off of 4 x 4 drive mode, then rumble by the mailboxes, wind around two pastures, wave as we pass the bee-keeper guy’s place, until we finally come to the clearing where the dumpsters sit clustered to the left with the “CAMPING” area across from them on the right. It’s there that the little road joins perpendicularly with the main road, which is still a nameless, no-sidewalk country road, but at least it appears on a map (I think) and it leads somewhere: small villages and Grenoble to the right, more small villages (including the one that’s our address) and Romans-sur-Isère to the left. We usually go left and do our shopping in Romans.

We make this excursion maybe once every 7-10 days. We load up the truck with our trash so we can drop it in the dumpsters when we get out to the “CAMPING” area at the main road.

When it’s cold, we put off going anywhere as long as we can because the fire doesn’t usually stay alive untended (except at night, when Callaghan banks it), and it’s kind of unpleasant to come home to a dead fire in a cold house.

This is what makes me cringe with shame: Ma Ingalls would absolutely not approve of our current habits. We have no excuse! The Ingalls family got dressed every day, even when they didn’t have plans to go to town. Ma Ingalls always changed into day-time clothes, and she made sure that her girls did, too, regardless of anything. If there was a violent blizzard outside continuously howling during the longest, hardest winter ever known to humankind, there they’d be, the Ingallses, ensconced in the house fully-dressed, functional and ready for unannounced guests. (If there was ever a day Ma said, to hell with it, I’ll hang out in my nightgown, I missed that part, even though I’ve read the entire “Little House” series – which I have in my possession – backwards and forwards like 20 times since I was seven years old.)

So I’ve been thinking that it might be a good idea to take a cue from Ma and start approaching each day as if there was a little civilization right here in our own house. We could behave as if there was a world humming with human life outside our door, instead of just the woods… as if there was a chance someone might come along and drop in for a visit. (When you finally find us and make it onto our land, you can only go so far before you have to stop and walk the rest of the way up to our house, because the wooded path is steep and muddy and rocky, and if your vehicle’s not a 4 x 4, it’s not going to make it.)

Yes! Sounds like a plan, and it’ll serve us well, I think. Because you know things have slipped out of control when you’re suddenly aware that “Do we need to put on pants?” is the operating question every morning. Thanks for the inspiration, Ma! We’ll try to do you proud. And we’ll hope that if someone does come to visit, it’s not Nellie Olsen.

Revenge of the French Zombie Spiders?

Today, I unwittingly set the stage for a zombie attack unlike any that has ever been seen in movie theatres.

Let me explain.

I was raised Buddhist, and I’ve been a practicing Buddhist throughout most of my adult life. All of that came to an end when I moved to France. This is because Buddhists are not supposed to Kill Any Living Thing, and I’ve been killing all kinds of living things since I moved here.

We have rodents of various sorts in our house. And we have flies and other winged bugs. We also have ants and spiders.  This might make it sound like I suck, but believe me, I keep a clean house. It’s just that we live in the wilderness, so it’s hard to prevent the critter invasion. It’s just a part of life here.

Of these, the spiders are the worst. They’re large and active and there are a lot of them. I mean, there are hoards of them. For some reason, they’re all up on the ceiling; they build highways for themselves that you can admire when you look up. And I do look up. I look up because I know the spiders are there, and I need to keep an eye on their activities at all times.

Getting rid of them has been an adventure in itself. You can’t escort spiders out when they’re on the ceiling. I mean, you can’t get up on a ladder with a piece of thin cardboard and a cup and slide the cardboard carefully under the spider with the cup on top and cover him and carry him outside to set him free. Okay, so you can… but you can’t. When there are 15 spiders on the ceiling and there’s one ladder and one you with your one measly set of upper body muscles with no upper body muscle reserve to take over when the first set of muscles start to burn from doing stuff repetitively over your head and your neck starts to ache, it just doesn’t work. So I had to think of a different way of getting rid of the spiders. Killing them was the only answer.

My killing instrument of choice is the vacuum cleaner. It’s the easiest. I’m sure there’s a special place in hell for me (Buddhists do believe in a kind of hell, in a complicated, philosophical way). I must have murdered hundreds of spiders by now, and I hate to think about the last moments of their little spidery lives, violently pulled into a pitch-black canister where they frantically try to escape and eventually suffocate to death.

Today, though, something happened that exponentially increased the horror. Today’s batch of spiders got cremated alive inside the vacuum cleaner bag.

It was an accident. It’s December, and we live in the Alpes, where it’s very cold. Like most people around here, we rely on a wood stove to heat up our little house. The fire requires maintenance throughout the day, which Callaghan the Husband provides. Nothing much has ever happened until this morning when Callaghan took the vacuum hose from me to suck up the ash and cinder that had just fallen out of the stove when he opened it up. You see? It was the overlapping circumstance of him tending to the fire at the same time that I was vacuuming spiders. You can probably guess where this is going… he accidentally vacuumed up some hot ember and set the vacuum cleaner on fire, and we didn’t even realize it until we smelled something burning and looked over to see smoke pouring out of the canister.

Callaghan hastily took the vacuum cleaner outside (meaning, he took two long strides to the door – that’s how small our house is) and opened the canister out on the terrace. He placed the bag on the freezing wet terrace floor, poured water on it and came in. Half an hour later, the bag was still smoking, so he broke the ice that covered the top of a full pail of water and submerged the vacuum bag.

Now, we have a bag of spider ashes frozen into a block of ice after the bodies had burned for 30 minutes. I’m saddened by the idea that the spiders met their end in this horrific way, sucked up and burned alive. Their only crime was that they were in the wrong place.

I would say that on the bright side, we know for sure that these particular spiders aren’t coming back, but the possibility exists that the ashes will gather themselves into zombie spiders and break free from their icy prison to get revenge, because they will certainly be angry with us for torching them. And who knows how an angry (and hungry, since zombies are hungry by definition) hoard of zombie spiders will launch its attack? Hell, who knows how French zombie spiders will behave? Is my French even good enough for me to reason with them?

I don’t want to find out. I guess we’ll continue adding to our emergency supply of water, since stocking up on water pretty much covers your ass in any sort of situation. Beyond that, I don’t know.