2023.5 – How’s Your Year Going?

2023.5 – How’s Your Year Going? July 2, 2023

They say the older you get, the faster time moves. I can’t say how true that is, but I can say it seems impossible that we’re halfway through 2023. Still, here we are at the first of July, with six months behind us and six months left to go.

How’s your year going?

There are people who prefer to live “in the moment” as much as possible. If that works for you, great. It doesn’t work for me. I’m a builder, and building requires plans, checklists, and reviews. What’s moving you closer to the kind of life you want? Keep doing it. What’s interfering with your goals and dreams? Find a way around it.

No, it’s not that simple. Yes, some people have more privilege than others, and therefore an easier time of building the life they want. But you can only start where you are, and the sooner you start moving in the direction you want to go, the sooner you’ll get there… or at least, closer to whatever “there” means for you.

So let’s look at how 2023 is going, and what we can expect – and what we can do – in the second half of the year.

photo by John Beckett

A look back at Divination for 2023

As I do every year, I began this year with a Tarot reading asking “what does the new year hold for me and mine?” The key theme was that 2023 was not going to be 2020 Part IV. So far that’s been true. We haven’t gone back to life before Covid, but the massive disruption caused by the pandemic is pretty much done. At the same time, the reading cautioned us to keep our focus on “this year’s business” and not get caught up the future (like the 2024 Presidential election).

Skeptics will argue that reading was vague. Of course it was vague – what else can you expect from a Tarot reading for an entire year? Divination works best when it’s focused on a specific question. But divining on general questions can give us themes and trends, and those can be helpful in understanding what’s going on.

I’m not good at focusing on the present – I’m always looking for the next step, the next big thing. But this year I started something I’ve found helpful. I have three hypersigils going, long-term magical workings supported by visualizations and other magic. Every time I charge them, I end by asking myself “what can I do today to move me closer this destination?”

Most times that’s something simple: do my daily devotions. Write. Walk. Do a bit of maintenance on the house, or somewhere else in my life. Occasionally it’s something bigger: plan a trip or a ritual, or do the trip or ritual. The point is to focus on today while keeping a better future in mind.

So far so good.

photo by John Beckett
This year’s Divination for 2023 – the Celtic Tarot

The Great War

In March several of us wrote about The Great War in the Otherworld and in this World. We’re seeing wars in this world – including the literal war in Ukraine – and we’re seeing wars in the Otherworld, including fighting by what Morgan Daimler calls Basdán, “those who seek to unmake all things.”

Our talk of the Great War faded in the second quarter, but that doesn’t mean the war has gone away. Far from it. On the this-world side, states like Florida and Texas have passed new laws attacking LGBTQ people, especially trans kids. The Supreme Court continues to remake the country in accordance with its radical “originalist” philosophy.

I’m not sure what’s happening on the Otherworld side. I get bits of UPG about it from time to time, but nothing recently. My current work in this area is focused on defensive magic.

What’s important to remember is that this is a multi-polar conflict and it won’t be over any time soon. Pick a side and pay attention.

Scheduling joy

It’s easy to get caught up in all the bad stuff going on, and especially in the scary directions things are headed. And while we need to pay attention, we still need joy in our lives. Another post from earlier this year was Scheduling Joy. Spontaneity is great, but if we wait for good things to happen spontaneously we may be waiting a long time. Joy can’t be commanded, but we can schedule time doing the kind of things that make joy more likely.

I’ve done better with this in the first half of 2023. Part of that was a two-week trip to Alaska, where I saw more wildlife than I’ve ever seen before (Hail Cernunnos!). But a bigger part has been doing more of the ordinary things that I enjoy doing. Some of that is my Pagan work that brings me satisfaction. But it’s also reading a couple of new books, and finding some old movies on the streaming services that I saw as a kid and wanted to see again, or couldn’t see as a kid but now I can.

Make time for the things that bring pleasure and joy into your life, even if you have to schedule them. Especially if you have to schedule them.

photo by John Beckett
Caribou in Alaska

Personal goals

I set some personal goals this year, as I do every year. Some of them are too personal to discuss, but I will mention two of them.

One is walking. I’ve been walking for exercise – and because I enjoy it – for many years. Last year I started tracking my walks, and I quickly found that keeping score means I take things more seriously. This year I set a goal to increase both the frequency and distance of my walking.

So far so good – I’m on track to exceed my goals. And I walked 8.5 miles one Saturday morning in April, the longest I’ve covered since I stopped running in 2004. It’s hard to go that far in the Texas heat, but I can do shorter walks in the Summer, then extend them out again in the Fall.

The other personal goal I want to mention is home improvement. Our house is 30 years old this year, and while we’ve kept up with maintenance, there are some things that could use some serious updates – mainly in the bathrooms. We had planned to renovate them this year.

And in then we had a lightning strike in February. It took out some electronics and one of our furnaces. That furnace and the associated air conditioner were 15 years old – too old to repair. So we replaced them. Between high deductibles and the age of the equipment, insurance paid almost nothing. That ate up our home improvement budget for the year. It needed to be done, and it’s better to replace an air conditioner in February than in July. But that pushed the bathrooms back to next year.

You can plan all you want, but sometimes you have to be flexible.

The outlook for the second half of 2023

I’m not going to do a big Tarot reading for the second half. The reading in January was for the full year and it’s still very relevant. But I did pull three cards – consider them “clarifying cards” for the January reading.

photo by John Beckett
3 cards from the Celtic Tarot

The Lovers speaks to the need to build and strengthen our relationships, especially our closest relationships. The 10 of Cauldrons shows what we’ll get if we do – a solid family, in the broadest and most inclusive definition of “family.” And the 10 of Wands reminds us that there’s a lot of work left to be done this year. That has a specific meaning for me that I’m not going to discuss, but I will say it’s a reminder to quick procrastinating on something that’s rather important.

Beyond that, I like my schedule for the second half of the year. It kicks off with two presentations at Mystic South next week. I have another UTAO Online Class coming in the Fall, a driving trip in October, and the usual Winter holidays in December. Plus some local things that will both move my life in the direction I want it to go and also (hopefully) bring some joy.

The economy (at least in the United States) is improving. Inflation is moderating and unemployment remains low, despite the Federal Reserve raising interest rates to levels not seen since before the Great Recession. Things aren’t ideal, but considering where we’ve been since 2020, they’re not bad. I’m concerned about the overall political environment, but that’s mainly a 2024 thing.

What will happen with the Great War? I have no idea, other than it’s not going away. Keep paying attention and keep responding as you’re inspired, and as you’re able.

My first half of 2023 has been good. Not great, but overall it’s been good. I’m looking forward to the second half.

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