Animalia Stellarum ~ Pisces the Fish

Divination and Dreams

A

quarius took us into the depths and introduced us to the monster Typhon. Now that story continues but this time it is not Pan who turns into a fish but two completely different characters.

Pisces is the 12th and final sign in the zodiacal wheel, attuned to the element of Water and is a mutable sign ruled by Neptune. The Sun is in Pisces from February 18 through March 20. Mutable signs speak to our ability to be flexible, accommodating, receptive, and extend out towards others. Mutable signs also speak to transition periods and it is during the sign of Pisces that we begin to transition from deep Winter into early Spring in the Norther Hemisphere and late Summer into early Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

Fish as Animal: By Sara Magnuson

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls,
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me ~ chorus from Joy to the World by Three Dog Night

Joy to the Fishes, indeed, for it is in the otherworld of the oceans that life on our planet came to exist. In the evolution of creatures it is the Fish that links us to primordial times, like the cord that ties together the two Fishes of Pisces. It is also fitting that the Fishes represent the end of the zodiacal wheel and where it connects back to the beginning – a never-ending loop, always in the present and always connected to the archetypal legacies of the heavens.

When we consider creatures that have been around, in some form, as long as the Fishes, we must also think of the Birds. Birds can fly through the air and navigate space in a way that we are not built to understand. Like Birds, Fish “fly” through the water, also living in a realm that we are not built to understand.

Acknowledge the world of a Fish for a moment – living in this liquid space, feeling the changes in pressure as it swims toward the surface or dives deep, sensing the currents like wind. It takes a completely different, very specialized kind of body to exist in this watery world.

The word “fish” is a very broad term, so what exactly are we talking about here. Fish are technically defined as “gill-bearing aquatic creatures with a skull and primary nerve cord that lack limbs with digits.” They are cold blooded Animals, meaning their body temperature is regulated by outside sources and very little internal heat is generated. They have a four-chambered heart (like humans) that pumps blood in a single loop through the body (unlike humans). Fish are found in all aquatic environments – salt water, fresh water, brackish, etc.

Just as Birds are designed with wings and feathers to be aerodynamic, Fish are covered with scales to allow for hydrodynamic movement. Other creatures also have scales, like Snakes, but Reptile scales are born from the surface of the skin, the epidermis, and Fish scales come from the dermis layer, much deeper within. You can think of a Fish’s scales as you would the development of your hair and teeth. For the Fish, scales provide protection for their physical body, as well as facilitating smooth movement in the water. Fish’s fins (i.e. their “limbs”) function much in the same way as a Bird’s wings, allowing it to propel and direct its movement. The scales of Fish’s body ask us to consider our own forms of emotional and spiritual protection, and to examine how deeply they are rooted.

An amazing aspect of Fish is its ability to breathe oxygen under water. Yes, Fish breathe oxygen, like humans, they just get it in a different way. The gills of Fish are made up of filaments and capillaries that create a huge surface area to extract oxygen from the water molecules. The act of swimming, moving through the space, forces water through their gills and keeps the process going. Fish can also “flap” their fins to push water across their gills while remaining still, a kind of hovering, which brings us to how Fish sleep. They don’t have eyelids so it appears that Fish is always awake, always moving, however we know that this is not true. Through observation, we know that Fish do take time to rest and enter into a form of stasis. How long and how often depends on the particular Fish. Keeping the water moving across their gills is an involuntary act; like our own heartbeat, they don’t have to remember to do it. In this way, Fish asks us to consider our unconscious behaviors and habits. Fish is there to guide us through times of internal exploration and reminds us of the importance of self-care and rest, no matter how it may appear to others.

Most Fish exhibit male or female reproductive characteristics, although there are exceptions, but their courting rituals are not quite the same as other Animals; in fact, the sexual life of a Fish is not particularly exciting. They typically reproduce when the female releases eggs and the male releases sperm into the water and hope they mix. Any courting, by male or female, is displayed for the purpose of drawing the potential mate near the area of the water they deposited their respective sex cells and pray that the other wants to deposit their own. The (hopefully) fertilized eggs are left to their own devices to develop, be born, and fend for themselves. Fish are not nurturing parents; they don’t stay around waiting for the babies to hatch and generally cannot identify their own offspring. This sexual and parental behavior, or lack thereof, speaks to the tendency of Fish to seem detached, far-away, or spacey. As we will see, Fish are not prone to forming individual attachments, but rather function at the extremes – in large groups or as solitary creatures.

Living in the otherworldly realm of water gives Fish some unique sensory abilities. They generally have a good sense of vision and smell, but they don’t hear like other creatures. Rather than hearing in the traditional sense, Fish have a sensory structure connected to their skin, called the lateral line, that works in a similar manner as the inner ear of humans. The lateral line provides spatial awareness and orientation and allows them to detect vibrations in the movement and currents of the water. The function of the lateral line directs their feeding and hunting practices, and affects social behaviors. In order to swim, Fish also possess specialized sensory organs that regulate buoyancy and detect water pressure. There are tens of thousands of different types of Fish, so it’s no surprise that some have developed other unique senses that serve their specific lifestyle, such as the detection of electrical impulses and different types of light. Awareness of how Fish senses the world teaches us about finding and accepting our own unique way of understanding and interpreting our environment. Fish asks us to be open, receptive, and non-judgmental of our individuality.

The behaviors of Fish are extremely diverse. Similar to variations in our own personalities, some Fish are aggressive and some are passive, some are loners and some must live in groups, some are predators and some are prey, some are highly intelligent and some are dumb as rocks. Two social behaviors that almost all Fish participate in at some point in their life cycle are the acts of shoaling and schooling. Sometimes Fish will swim together in a loose grouping, where they are acting fairly independently of each other but are close enough to stay connected, called shoaling. Schooling is when a group of Fish swim together in the same direction and in a coordinated way. Both of these behaviors provide protection from predators, better luck finding food and a mate, and help them save energy while swimming together (much like Birds flying in formation to utilize air currents most effectively). The act of schooling is a mysterious sight to observe, as it requires a highly coordinated effort of synchronized movements between individuals that are not vocalizing to each other. This aspect of Fish asks us to consider how we are or are not connected to others; how we are or are not utilizing and participating in community; where and when nurturing our connectedness serves our greater desires.

Most all Fish partake in some form of migration, whether near or far, for the purpose of reproduction, spawning, or finding food. Some Fish make small migrations daily and some cover vast expanses on an annual basis. The interesting thing about Fish migration is that, like Birds, they use the earth’s magnetic field to navigate. This process is still not very well understood, but we know that they are connected to the earth even if they never touch the ground.

The Fishes of Pisces live in an unknowable world, sensitive to things many of us cannot fathom. These places of depth and mystery are where Pisces thrives. The Fishes of Pisces, and the cord that connects them, show us where the pull of our uniqueness meets the collective consciousness; how we can explore our internal landscape beneath the surface while not getting lost at sea; and help us discern when we need the support of community and when we need solitude to function at our best.

Fish As Pisces: By Briana Saussy

piscesAs we turn our attention to Pisces it is a given that we will work closely with the element of Water and the fish nature of the final sign in the zodiac. However, there is more to Pisces than watery depths. In Babylon part of the constellation was called the Lady of Heaven, one of many epithets for Ishtar who brought the gifts of culture including ritual, magic, agriculture, and writing to her people. This early understanding of Pisces is relevant because the sign’s association with the Lady of Heaven underscores its relationship to synthesis. The way that C.G. Jung spoke about Pisces is that, as the 12th sign of the zodiac, it has received the lessons and gifts of all of the other signs.

Wherever Pisces occurs in your chart is most likely an area where you are able to make deep and vast connections – often between things that at first glance might seem entirely disconnected.

Moving from Babylon we enter into the star stories of Ancient Greece where the constellation of Pisces was understood to be Aphrodite and Eros escaping from the monster Typhon (whom we encountered in Capricorn). To recap: Typhon is described in ancient sources as having the body of a man but having hundreds of snakes emerging from his head and in some cases his thighs and/or feet as well. The snakes were all poisonous vipers, of course, who not only could kill by striking but actually spit their venom out onto their victims. Typhon was said to be able to breathe fire and also possess wings that allowed for flight. He was incredibly strong and powerful and had God-like powers over various elements.

Whereas in the tale of Capricorn the drama around Typhon involves transformation and struggle, in the tale of Pisces the drama involves connection and escape. Here we have a powerful and primal source that seeks to vanquish both Love and Desire. In order to escape and not be devoured, Love and Desire must both go under the waves, under the waters, and into the depths.

This is exactly what Pisces does as well. Those born under this sign or those who have this sign prominently placed in their charts often choose to escape into the watery depths themselves. The depths may be the music that Pisces plays, the art Pisces makes, or the dreams that often feel more real than waking life to Pisces.

Like the preceding sign, Aquarius, Pisces can sometimes appear aloof or uninterested in what is “actually happening” but unlike Aquarius, Pisces does not appear this way because it is preoccupied with mental brilliance and what is possible; rather Pisces feels deeply and instinctively knows that in order for the forces of Love and Desire to live in the world and remain intact, submergence and escape from the world is sometimes necessary. With Pisces there is both a deepening and softening of the qualities of Love and Desire, just as Aphrodite and her child Eros dived down into the waves so must we.

piscesThe presence of Aphrodite and Eros also clues us into some of the natural powers of Pisces – this sign influences our ability to be in harmony with ourselves and with others, to acknowledge and affirm our true desires, and to bring beauty into the world in every way possible. Escapism is an attribute that Pisces is often accused of engaging in and this is where the cord or lasso that binds Aphrodite and Eros together becomes so essential to the story.

In a practical manner the cord connects both figures to each other so that they are not lost to one another. Love that lacks Desire is cold and empty while Desire without Love has no solid root stock from which to grow. Eros is of course the child of Aphrodite so this also speaks to our connection to our legacy…when we go into the depths to do our work, to heal from whatever needs to be healed, to find more beauty and bring it up and into the world, we would do well to remember that we do this as a part of the legacy that we leave in the world rather than at the expense of it. The cord of connection also does not allow either figure to fully escape, fully be pulled down to the bottom of the sea; instead its presence reminds both that they will and must emerge once more – hopefully far away from the force of destruction that threatens them.

Magically speaking cords and lassos are worked with to connect and to bind; specifically the work of binding an individual to the things, people, and values that matter most to them. This ability to fix ourselves to what matters most is one of the challenges we find in the sign of Pisces, but also the single act that best prevents us from becoming lost in our own oceanic depths. Pisces is often spoken of as the sign that feels more and more deeply than any other (Virgo and Scorpio beg to differ on that, though). The ocean is a frequently called upon metaphor to convey the literal depth of feeling that this sign experiences. But one of the teachings of Pisces is that just because you feel something strongly, that does not make it necessarily true – knowing what really does matter most is the support that allows Pisces to emerge once more.

There is one more story associated with this constellation, my favorite kind, a fairy tale, and it speaks to one of strongest impulses we find in the Fish. In my research I saw that this story is attributed to Germanic origin, but I have encountered versions from Mexico, India, Italy, Greece, Eastern Europe, various locales around the Arctic circle, Japan, and China – basically anywhere you have a fishing economy you will have a version of this tale. It goes like this:

piscesOnce upon a time there was a very poor fisherman who lived in a metal tub with his wife, for they were so poor that they did not even have money for a meager cottage. The fisherman was a kind and good man and his wife was always yelling at him and haranguing him. He did his best to make her happy while acknowledging that no matter what he did she would never be fully satisfied.

Now it happened that one day the fisherman went out onto the water and caught a large, beautiful fish. Imagine his surprise when he hauled the fish onto the deck of his little boat and the fish cried out in pain, “Oh, oh, oh, the hook it hurts me so!

The fisherman was appalled and immediately removed the hook from the fish and set it free back into the water. The fish then turned around and said to the fisherman, “You are a good and kind man to release me so and not eat me. In return for your mercy I shall grant you a wish, any wish you want, what shall it be?

The fisherman shook his head smiling and assured the fish that this was not necessary – he was happy to let the fish live its life in peace and was only sorry for any pain he may have caused it. The fish was even more delighted with this second selfless act and so told the fisherman that should he ever change his mind he could come back to the lake and call for the fish and the fish would come back and grant a wish.

Well, the fishermen went home and his wife threw the biggest fit you have ever seen. She screamed and cussed and yelled at the poor man who was such a fool and told him to go back to the water and ask the fish to give them a beautiful home with lots of money and plenty of fine things. The poor man was terribly embarrassed but he did as she asked and the fish emerged from the waters and granted the fisherman’s wish so that when he returned home he returned not to a metal tub but instead to a golden castle.

Thinking that this was the end of it, the fisherman settled down to enjoy life but his wife was not satisfied. She goaded him, nagged at him, and mocked him until he went back to the waters and asked the fish for a second wish. Imagine the fisherman’s surprise when the fish emerged with a few less scales and a small wound that seeped a bit of blood.

Upon inquiring what had harmed the fish, the fisherman learned that this was the cost of granting his wish, the fish had paid for it in literal flesh and blood. But the fish took great pains to assure him that it was fine, only a little wound and one that would heal quickly. Then the fish asked why the fisherman had returned and called for it. The fisherman hemmed and hawed and finally admitted that his wife was not satisfied and would like a second wish; this time she wanted to be Queen in their country. He hated to ask, surely he did not want to harm the fish, and yet if he did not his wife would be ever so angry.

The fish simply said, “It is done, go back to your home.” and then disappeared into the depths. The fishermen did go home and once there discovered that he and his wife were indeed King and Queen of their country.

And so he thought that it would surely end there – what else was there to want? Yet his wife was still not satisfied and crowed out to the heavens that her husband would have no rest or quarter until she was Queen of the UNIVERSE!!! Head hanging down and hat in hand, the fisherman went to the waters once more. He called for the fish and when it emerged he saw it was bleeding heavily from a much larger wound and that it had lost many of its beautiful silver scales.

He relayed his wife’s wish to the fish and the fish sighed in sorrow and then told the fisherman to go home. The fisherman did and upon his arrival found that he and his wife truly were the rulers of the entire universe.

As such he was able to see the waters where the fish lived, able to see the blood running like a red river from the fish’s body, able to watch as the last silver scales fell to the bottom of the sea and the fish finally died. And immediately upon its death all of the gold and jewels, the crowns an scepters vanished and all that was left was a poor fisherman, his angry wife, and the metal tub which they called home.

As I said, this fairy tale speaks to several of the deepest aspects of Pisces and they are – a compulsion to redeem and save, a need to please people, and a willingness to sacrifice oneself. We see all three themes at work in the story: the fisherman saves the fish and also seems to want to redeem his wife in some manner, the fisherman is constantly trying to please his wife (and does not see how unworthy she is of such attention), and the fish itself gives up its life to make someone else happy. Pisces can develop a savior complex and must be reminded of the essential roles that self-care and standing up for what they believe in and they think is right, play in their lives.

Call on Pisces When:

  • You need to be more thoughtful, sensitive, and aware of other people’s feelings.
  • You are learning a new form of art such as music, painting, sculpture, dance, drawing or design.
  • You wish to learn from the past and put it into proper perspective.
  • You need to engage more fully with your dreams and nourish your dream life.
  • You want to make connections between various aspects of your life; you are ready to synthesize.
  • You are ready to develop your psychic abilities.
  • You need to infuse your work with more depth, beauty, and creativity.
  • You wish to help.
  • You want to cultivate a deeper relationship with beauty.
  • You need to come into right relationship with your deep feelings and emotions.
  • You wish for deeper connection.
  • You are ready to be a force of redemption in the world.

Be Wary Of

  • Addictions of all kinds – Losing oneself in the depths is something to take figuratively and literally with this sign. Pisces and Scorpio are the two zodiac signs most strongly connected to addictions.
  • Escapism – Sometimes Pisces forgets to lasso itself to something or someone else and tries to escape the world completely. This can lead to (on the milder side) overlooking important, practical needs and (on the stronger side) moments of “breaking” from reality all together.
  • Being too acquiescent – As a mutable sign it is easy for Pisces to say YES! Whatever you want! While that can make the fish popular, as we saw in the story above, it is not always good for the fish – Pisces must learn the art of setting boundaries.
  • Overly high standards – Pisces has a vision of what can be, and usually the visions is pretty terrific. When the “real world” and people in it fail to live up to that vision it can leave the fish feeling hollowed out and empty, so it is good to remember that reality is not a bad word.
  • Self-doubt – One of the old ways to describe the 12th house in the zodiac is the house of self-imprisonment; Pisces finds it easy to believe in almost anything…except themselves.

Questions to Ponder:

Pisces shows up in everyone’s chart – there is no such thing as “I don’t have Pisces” because it is a cluster of stars in the sky and it is always there. Wherever Pisces occurs in your chart these questions will help you get to know it better.

  • What aspects of my life need to be brought together, what is my overarching theme?
  • What beauty am I creating?
  • What do I serve?
  • How do I help?
  • What would happen if I asserted myself more strongly?
  • What depths do I long to sink into?
  • What are my dreams telling me?
  • How can I bring my visions of what is possible more fully into my waking life?
  • What is my lineage?

Active Imagination Journey:

Sit comfortably and take a deep breath. Close your eyes and listen to your breathing. Make each inhale and each exhale a little fuller and deeper than the last.

Feel your body slowly relaxing; feel each muscle letting go, your head; your chest; your arms and hands; your stomach; your hips, legs and feet; until all you are focused on is your breathing. Slowly in and slowly out.

See that you are walking on a sun-dappled path through a beautiful wood. It is a warm, pleasant afternoon, quiet and still and peaceful. You are carrying a small sack with you but its contents are not of concern. You know that what’s in the sack is important to you and that you must keep it with you. It is not too heavy and not too light and you stroll down the path with ease, breathing deeply. Notice your steps, your heartbeat, and your breath all in rhythm together.

The path begins to open up and you find yourself at the edge of the wood looking toward a smooth, glassy lake. There is a small island out in the center of the lake and you know that is where you must go. Make your way to the edge of the lake and step into the water; feel it gently lapping at your ankles. The water is temperate and calm and clear. Whether you are a good swimmer or not, you feel safe and comfortable moving deeper into the lake. You put the sack around you and begin to swim the short distance to the small island. You swim with the ease of a fish and you effortlessly make your way to the shore of the island.*

You emerge from the lake and walk up to a dry place on the shore of the island. Sit down and observe. Observe the span of lake you just crossed and the forest on the other side. Observe the shore that you’re sitting on and the sights, smells, and sounds of the small island. Observe that you are separated from the mainland, separated from your day-to-day worries and troubles, separated from your aches and pains, separated from the minutia of tasks and chores. Observe that it is quiet and peaceful. Take a moment to let your mind be still.

Now consider the sack you brought with you. Inside is an object that represents the thing you feel most tethered to, whether good or bad. Open the sack and remove the object. Hold it in your hands without judgment. Feel its weight and shape and consider what it represents.

Take a moment to meditate on the purpose of the object. Is it something you want to be tethered to? Is it something you should be tethered to? Is it a representation of the thing that is most important to you? Or is it something you do not want to be tethered to? Is it a representation of something you need to let go of? Is the object necessary in your life? Is it something practical that helps you? Or is it something that is no longer needed?

As you sit with the object and contemplate its purpose and function in your life, look out across the lake. Remember the perspective you have, sitting on this small island, separate from the mainland and all your troubles, pains, and duties; separate from all the influences in your life telling you what to do. Remember that you are here to discern what to do with this object and the decision is yours and your alone.

If you decide that this object represents something you do not want to be tethered to, dig a hole on the shore and bury it, leaving it behind for the island to absorb. If you decide that this object represents something you do want to remain tethered to, return it to the sack. When you feel ready, you step back into the lake and feel it gently lapping at your ankles. The water is temperate and calm and clear. You feel safe and comfortable moving deeper into the water and begin to swim the short distance to return. You swim with the ease of a fish and you effortlessly make your way to the shore of the mainland.*

As you step out of the water onto the land, give yourself a moment to look out across the lake to the the island you came from. Express your gratitude for the ability to move your body through the water and for the clarity that the island provided you.

When you are ready, begin walking back on the sun-dappled path through the beautiful wood. It is a warm, pleasant afternoon, quiet and still and peaceful. Notice your steps, your heartbeat and your breath all in rhythm together. Become aware of your presence in your physical body. Allow your mind to gently return to the present moment where you are sitting comfortably, listening to your breath.

When you feel ready, open your eyes.

*if you have phobias around water or swimming that keep you from visualizing this, imagine that there is a small, safe boat for you to get to and from the island.

Altar/Ritual: Making a Spirit Cord

This is an adaptation of a practice taken from Bri’s course on magic and fairy tales, Spinning Gold.

Ropes, spirit cords, ritual belts and, as they are called in Currendera tradition, lassos, are sacred tools and ritual talismans that assist us as we meditate and engage with the Otherworld in very specific and helpful ways.

For many newcomers to magical work it is an odd idea that something as innocuous as a piece of string, fabric, or leather could have the ability to serve as a physical catalyst for rapid and deep transformation, but it can.

The spirit cord or lasso has the ability to connect past, present, and future and can be worked with in a ceremonial manner not only to connect your past, present, and future, but also to connect you to Ancestors who are no longer among the living, and Descendants (including creative, metaphorical, progeny) that will come into being in the future.

You may also work with your cord to connect to specific places, objects, and people. For instance, try looping one part of your cord around a plant and sitting with the end of the cord in your left hand. Consider the channel you create in that moment and be aware of  the information that flows through it.

How to Make Your Spirit Cord

1.) Acquire three pieces of material. Choose materials that can be braided together such as yarn, rope, or thread. I recommend that you choose the same material for each of the three strands. This cord is something you can wear or wrap around you, so choose something comfortable that will feel good against your skin. You may want to choose one, two or three colors for your cord. (My cord is three different colors, white, black and red. This is entirely up to you.)

In choosing colors, reflect on what different colors mean to you in particular. Red might mean power and protection, blood spilled in creative work? Black might mean to you a power that absorbs negativity. Blues for you might call forth healing waters. Yellows might evoke for you a field of wildflowers and something lighthearted or it might evoke something entirely different.

The point is to open up correspondences that connect with yourself. As you choose your colors, keep in mind the work or purpose of the cord, as we have said above: for daily practice, working with lineage and legacy; to strengthen and restrict, open up the channel to travel more easily between the worlds.

2.) Cut the cords to the length or height of your body. Give yourself about twelve inches (or about thirty centimeters) of extra material, since the cords will shorten as you braid.

3.) You will now have three lengths of material, and either one, two or three colors. Now you must assign deeper significance to each strand. Here is how you can do that:

Think about your life as a whole and in part, your aspirations, your desires, your frustrations and obstacles. What facets of your life feel separated from one another?

Some common examples of different facets of life that can feel separated or related and joined together:

  • Work life
  • Spiritual practice
  • Love life
  • Creative life
  • Physical health
  • Eating food
  • Family life
  • Financial life
  • Self-image

Now choose three life facets for your cord, and assign one for each strand. Take as much time as you need to make your choices.

If this does not feel resonant to you, here are a couple of further options:

Some of us struggle with the separation between who we are inside and the face we show to others. If this describes your experience then dedicate one strand of your cord to your inner voice, one strand to your outer expression, and one strand for the two aspects coming into union with each other.

In other cases we are searching for a through line connecting our experience of past, present, and future. In that case you might dedicate one strand of your cord to the past, one to the present, and one to the future.

4.) Keeping the three facets you have selected strongly in your mind and inner intention, braid the three strands together. (If you’ve forgotten how to braid, or don’t know how to, no worries. You can find instructions on YouTube for examples of simple braiding tips. I would suggest, however, that you practice first on some other strands before working on your cord. It is important for your own work to cultivate and hold your intention as you braid the cord and obviously this cannot take place if you have one eye on the computer screen.)

After you finish, bless it with your own words and in your own way, and put it in a safe place for use later.

About my Co-Author:

sara-magnusonSara Magnuson  is a crafter of spiritual supplies, a reader of cards, a diviner of animals, and the co-founder of Candlesmoke Chapel. Her personal practice is eclectic, animistic, and ancestral. The guidance she provides is based in the messages of Nature and its role in how we move through this world.

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Ask and Answer Tarot Meanings: The Magician

Learning and Community

M

iracles, continuing right along with Ask and Answer Tarot, the companion to my e-course on Tarot, 20 Question Tarot, We are now ready to meet up with the Magician.

Remember: In the Ask and Answer Tarot series I am going to give you 6 questions that each Tarot card inspires you, the reader, to ask either yourself or the person you are reading for and 2 questions that will help you get to know the card a little bit better.

 
 

The Magician

Card Number: I

Ruling planet: Mercury

Element: Air

Season: Spring

 

Questions for the Magician:

These two questions will help you get to know the Magician a little bit better:

1.) Where are the Magicians in your family, your neighborhood, community, region, and country?

2.) What is the best way to summon the Magician?

 

Questions from the Upright Magician:

When the Magician card appears upright in a reading, these three questions will help you reveal its message.

1.) What resources do you already have access to that can help you get the job done?

2.) What needs to be transformed and what does it need to be transformed to?

3.) What project/idea/venture is still in an early phase and needs to be protected?

 

Questions from the Reversed Magician:

When the Magician card appears reverse in a reading, these three questions will help you navigate its advice.

1.) What abilities or talents are you ignoring that can help you accomplish your goals?

2.) What illusions or tricks are you buying into?

3.) What is your current relationship to ritual and ceremony?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

A Preponderance of the Little Ones

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracles, In older times, the faeries were called by our ancestors “the little ones”, among other things, just as in the ancient times the triple sisters of vengeance known as the Furies were called “the kindly ones.”  Our long ago people thought: perhaps if we call the Furies kindly, they will be so to us. And perhaps if we call the older than old faerie folk the “little ones”,  they will not exert their big powers in rotting crops, calling forth drought, and sending bad dreams to stalk us through the night. This use of Euphemism in language has been traditionally exercised out of politeness, but also out of a desire to protect and keep safe.

It is hard for many of us, even soulful seekers, to take the idea of a faerie seriously. Yet we will easily agree many of the forces forming the warp and weft of our physical world and experience truly are smaller than small, highly unpredictable, and not ever completely understood.

Storytellers of old sing of a strange and destructive beast called Rumor – with its thousand wings and countless yellow eyes and mouths – and with Greed or Fear, Rumor could run rampant through a crowd touching one person after another until all were in the thrall and utterly bewitched. No, this is not something that still happens today. Or is it?
Faerie lore and a “preponderance of the small things” – as one of the hexagrams in the I Ching advises – is common to many different storytelling traditions, even though the names we use and the explanations we give may vary from place to place and time to time.  I think the reason why must be because there is something true in these stories. The battle is not for the very big, but the very small and overlooked. We can best understand the very big, the very great, the very awesome and mighty by attending to the small, the humble, the everyday…by blessing the little ones, in all the ways they become manifest in our life.
The little actions we engage in every day, that together make up the sum of our days, our weeks, our years, our very lives – if our greatness is not rooted here, then where? The small acts, most often unseen, inexpensive for us in most ways, are apparently insignificant, but for some may mean the world because they lead to new possibilities, to fresh ways of seeing and thinking, and to the good medicines we carry in our hearts. This action, this way of living, is mostly quiet. It is not a crowd-pleaser, not an attention grabbing headline, does not stoke fires of division, but is rather much more interested in simply getting down to work and being of good help – not in intention only, but in a way that is truly productive.  There is nothing more deeply revolutionary than this.
Of late much has been said about being big, thinking big, acting big. Then there is the ubiquitous phrase: Go big or go home, a phrase much loved by some of my people, Texans, and it captures the experience of confronting the massive quite well – you can allow yourself to swept up and lost in its powerful currents or you can go home. The unsaid part of course is that “losers” go home and “winners” go big. But do they really?
I am struck by the fact that the most famous journeys in literature, whether we speak of Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, or the great Indian epic the Mahabharata, are all about returning home and going through the extraordinary effort to end up not in a position of more power or prestige, but rather to return home, to return to the beloveds, to a life filled with the little things: small, every day, seemingly insignificant, and deeply precious. In other words, they don’t go big, they go home; they go small. The big waves come and go; but it is the little ones – lovers touching, babies crying, work-finding, joy-making, and life-living that are perennial and ever present. The plants and flowers may change season to season but the root stock is sure.
I remind myself of this timeless truth when the world feels too big and fast, and the chasms feel too deep and wide to ever be bridged. The hidden roots remain, for they are tended to by the Little Ones, the least of us, that is, and the smallest acts we do, and the ways we live – in others words, by the very qualities and actions that true depth, vastness, and wonder most require. May the little ones be blessed in our lives ever and always.
Divination:
Under the full moon and lunar eclipse in Leo on 2/10 there is a good opportunity to break any patterns that need breaking –  including getting caught up in the too big and the too loud and neglecting the little.  And so our divination questions focus us:

What is the small thing, the little one most asking for your attention and care right now?

What practical actions can you take to tend it?

In love and service,
 Bri

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

A Gathering Prayer ~ New Moon in Aquarius

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

On January 27th we celebrate a brightly black New Moon in Aquarius. The week leading up to this moon has seen many different communities coming together in a variety of ways which is absolutely in alignment with the politically and communally minded sign of Aquarius. And so, it is time for a Gathering Prayer.

A Gathering Prayer

Blessed be our ways of coming together.

First let us come together within ourselves, seeing clearly all our parts – the places that yearn to help and be of service, the places that are afraid, the places that are led by the empty echo chamber of shallow voice and shallow thought, and the places that are deep enough to speak directly to the core of who we are.

Next let us come together with our beloveds, hands joining hands joining hands, creating a gateway of fingers and arms, solid bodies, and sure voices that can open and close with ease as we affirm that these things are precious, not to be trifled with nor denigrated or abused and if you are of the same mind then welcome home, we have been waiting, and we are so glad that you are here.

Then let us come together with the strangers, the ones we do not know or recognize upon first, second, even third glance. The ones who look and sound different, think differently, act strangely, remembering that there are infinite ways of coming together so that we might come together like a big bowl of posole where some ingredients are cooked longer and others receive less time at the fire, and there are many different tastes and together in just the right ratios they are pure magic.

Finally let us come together with our enemies, for we cannot be fully together with those we do not know, those we love, and our own selves if we cannot also look at those who would do us harm with love; knowing that there are many ways to come together so that we might come together like the prickly pear cactus does with the oak – mostly giving space and good distance from each other as they hold to an invisible line but every now and then forming the most unlikely of unions.

Let us come together, let us come to gather, and as we do may we remember the circling of stars, the drumbeat of heart, the dance of blood cells and all the perennial common grounds to which the differences, disagreements, and despairs of separateness will return once more.

 

(Photo credit: still from the fantastic film Winged Migration)

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Aquarius the Water-Bearer

Divination and Dreams

F

rom earthy Capricorn we move into the aerial and aquatic realms ready to stir and shake things up with the one and only Aquarius.

Aquarius is the 11th sign in the zodiacal wheel, attuned to the element of Air and is a fixed sign ruled by Uranus. The Sun is in Aquarius from January 19 through February 18. As an Air sign Aquarius symbolizes our relationship with our intellect, thoughts, and internal struggles as well as our role in our greater communities. In its depiction as the human figure of the Water-Bearer, Aquarius also symbolizes our relationship with emotions and our literal connection with the element of Water.

Water-Bearer as Aquarius: By Briana Saussy

We depart from the mythic creatures we worked with in both Sagittarius and Capricorn as we turn our attention to Aquarius and discover perhaps the most mysterious creature of them all: humans.

Like its predecessor Capricorn, Aquarius is one of the oldest constellations found in Sumerian myth, Babylonian codex, Vedic Astrological tradition and Chinese star lore. In ancient Sumer and Babylon the star cluster was associated with the great God Ea himself, the annual flooding of the Nile, and the emblematic depictions of the constellations could be elaborate, including a man bearing a cup with water flowing all around.

As we move forward into time and into Ancient Greece we see that the emblems associated with Aquarius become simplified most often just the depiction of a cup or the depiction of a man with a cup and the story behind the stars became more layered and nuanced. For the story of Aquarius is one version of the story of the Flood which is a integral part of ancient myth in many parts of the world.

The Greek version stars the son of Prometheus, Prometheus being literally forethought” and best known as the Titan who, after seeing that the Gods had given all of creation special gifts except for humans, decided to steal fire from the heavens (star fire?) and teach people how to work with fire as a tool.

Prometheus’ famous punishment was to be chained to the side of a mountain where a vulture would swoop down and peck out his liver. Well, somewhere in all of that he had a son named Deucalion and just as Prometheus’ name is forever associated with the element of fire, Deucalion’s is associated with the element of water, and later air.

It all began with a sacrifice that went wrong. In some stories it is a king in Athens who pours a libation of water instead of wine, angering the Gods. In the older stories it is something more violent and bloody, the sacrifice of a young boy to Zeus, that was taken as deeply offensive, heretical, and impure.

AquariusHere we see one of strongest traits of Aquarius come to the foreground for this is the sign that is often seen as the cosmic rebel, refusing to go along with the way it has always been done” and instead looking with fresh eyes at whether an action still makes sense or is relevant (or was ever appropriate).

Aquarius is the sign least interested in tradition and there is goodness in that attitude because certain traditions (like human sacrifice, slavery, and child brides to name a few) must be called for what they are wrong and unjust and stamped out firmly and completely.

So, a young boy was killed for no good reason and the gods became enraged. What I hear below and beneath the surface of the story is the grief; that the heavens wept at the loss and waste of innocent life, and so they cried, and they cried, and they cried. And the waters came rushing down covering the land over and the rivers began to swell up and out and overrun their banks, and the oceans began to grow greater and higher and vaster than ever before.

That a flood is a cosmic cleansing is pretty obvious. Waters can ravage and level land as surely as fire can although in its wake, after the mud has dried and the sun has pierced through once more, great waters also prepare the land for new life. It is this way for us too, especially when we are guided by Aquarius. For this sign understands that when there are traditions and ways of doing things that are not only not relevant but positively harmful to self and to others there must be atonement, there must be cleansing and purification so that the harm and violence done can be washed away and out to sea. This is blessing work but also work that leaves us with the need to start again, find a new way, build something else.

And this is where Aquarius shines. For this is the part of the sky that inspires us with innovation and inventiveness; the place that encourages us to look forward into what is possible and not back into what has been. The water that overflows from Aquarius’ cup covers over the land and removes what needs to be removed, but then the real work of humans’ deep and brilliant minds is allowed to take center stage as we ask the question: what can be created right here and right now?

In the tale, the creator is Deucalion, Prometheus’ son who first figures out how to survive the Flood by building a boat large enough and sea-worthy enough for himself and his beloved wife. Once the waters have done their cleansing, deepening, work they recede and Deucalion is left as the only man/Titan standing alongside his love. They become the founders of a new city where new temples, new governance structures, and new traditions take place.

Again, the parallels with the astrological qualities of Aquarius are profound. Lovers of what is new and what is possible, Aquarius is also a very political sign concerned with the community at large, the polis as it was understood in ancient Greece meaning the entire city. This is also the place where we see the Air element show up in Aquarius, for despite all the water image, Aquarius is an Air sign and Air signs are all concerned with the bonds of civilization, social contracts, and the most just way to live life. In our day and age of virtual communities Aquarius often makes itself at home on the web and thrives in any environment where new and more just forms of connection and representation are under consideration.

When faced with the task of repopulating the Earth, Deucalion and his wife were told to take the bones of their mother and throw them behind their backs. They used their mental gifts to unravel the mystery and understood that bones of your mother” does not refer to the bones of your literal mother, but rather to the great rocks, the bones” of THE mother Gaia, the Earth. So they took rocks and threw them behind their shoulders and children sprung up in their wake.

This too speaks to the qualities inherent in Aquarius the love of a good riddle or puzzle, a mental brilliance that is able to see past the surface right into the essence of things, and a way of living life that is fertile and procreative, but not in a conventional manner.

Often it is said that what separates humans from other creatures, what makes us so different is our intellect. But for the ancients and our own ancestors that was not quite the right understanding. Rather, the gift that we carried is the ability for intellect to join forces with what we feel deeply, and what animates us and stirs us into action it is that we are capable of right relationship between all of these parts that is truly remarkable. The same is true for Aquarius.

Sometimes the sign is characterized as too mental,” too in the head,” but the truth is that Aquarius’ nature is born not fully sprung like Athena, but from a great well of emotion, of grief so deep that the waters themselves spilled out and over. Mental agility and creative thinking are called up not in contrast to but from the depths of those deep feelings and work in service of creating the new possibilities that those passions inspire. And this, I think, is what it means to truly bear water. For it is not about offering a cup full of water to this or that person Aquarius is not the cup bearer, but rather the one who will bear up under the onslaught, and survive it so that there might be a new day

Water-Bearer As Animal: By Sara Magnuson

Several astrological signs are represented by humans and in the context of this series we must take the perspective of ourselves as fellow animals. We are indeed of the Kingdom Animalia, right along with every other living creature. Thus the sign of Aquarius asks us to consider certain aspects of our human-animal nature.
We have learned that Aquarius represents the Water-Bearer in many ways historically, but when we consider Aquarius as Animal, we must begin with our
(humans) extraordinary relationship with the elements of air and water.

The most important factor that makes our planet Earth unique is the presence of the elements of water and air. Water is a main ingredient in forming a living organism and we all remember from school that our own bodies are made up of 60-70% water. Air is also required for life and even creatures that live under water need air, for water cannot be created without oxygen.

There is a mystery to water, metaphorically and scientifically. Water is obviously a necessary element to support life, yet we are constantly struggling with droughts and shortages. With all of our technological advances why can’t we just create water in a lab? Turns out, creating the molecules that make up water (H2O) is extremely volatile and dangerous! To briefly help us understand, here’s a simple explanation of the process…

AquariusWater is made of two hydrogen atoms attached to an oxygen atom. This seems like pretty basic chemistry, so why don’t we just smash them together and solve the world­’s water ills? Theoretically, this is possible, but it would be an extrem­ely dangerous process, too. To create water, oxygen and hydrogen atoms must be present. Mixing them together doesn’t help; you’re still left with just separate hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The orbits of each atom’s electrons must become linked, and to do that we must have a sudden burst of energy to get these shy things to hook up. Since hydrogen is extremely flammable and oxygen supports combustion, it wouldn’t take much to create this force. Pretty much all we need is a spark – not even a flame – and boom! We’ve got water. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms’ electrons’ orbits have been conjoined. But we also have an explosion and – if our experiment was big enough, a deadly one.”  — Josh Clark

So you see, water is a precious thing. The chemical reaction required to bond the atoms together is too dangerous to be reproduced in a lab. It’s not even totally verified how water came to exist on our planet and there are really only theories as to how it formed eons ago. A scientific mystery.


The fact that it takes such precise circumstances for water to form, for those atoms to bond together, speaks to Aquarius’ tendency to be concerned with community
the bonds that hold us together as fellow human animals, the link between the air of our intellect and the watery depths of our souls. And remember, these bonds don’t just form willy-nilly! Those atoms, just like Aquarius, are very selective about when and how they will join together. Once the bond has formed, though, the possibilities for movement and growth are endless.

Water is also one of the most unfamiliar, unrelatable realms to us humans who live on land. To live in the water takes a completely different kind of body than the ones we have. We may find ways to explore and learn about our oceans, rivers, lakes, swamps, etc., but we will never truly know what it is to live beneath that glassy barrier.

It is in this way that water is most often associated with our emotions, an aspect that is frequently called uniquely human,” though I would argue otherwise. Water is associated with emotions because they are the deepest parts of us, the parts beneath the surface that only you will ever truly know. Water is such an integral part of us that sometimes we exhibit our own human emotions by excreting salt water from our eyes. When our feelings overwhelm us and the air of our mind becomes heavy like a rain cloud, it is water that seeps out.

It is the inherent nature of water and air to move toward balance. Areas of high and low pressure air are constantly drawn to each other in a dance of harmony. Water will continue to flow until an equilibrium is reached. If you find a pool of water on the ground and are able to break the surrounding edge, it will move toward the opening, seeking level ground as if it has always been waiting for the opportunity move forward. And everywhere that water travels, it leaves in its wake the possibility of new life.

As we reflect on the stories of tears and Floods, we see that water shows us direction. Water can be free-flowing and rushing and forceful, but water can also be subtle and controlled. Air is the element that cannot be seen and the stories of personal relationships speak to the work of building community that takes place behind the scenes and under the surface. Aquarius reminds us that while our thoughts and emotions may feel overwhelming, like a Great Flood, their turbulent nature can be redirected in a purposeful way that promotes the best possible environment for growth and new beginnings.

Call on Aquarius When:

  • You are ready to shed the past way of doing/being/thinking
  • You want to call in a new reality, new possibility, new potential
  • You need to rebel, rock the boat, or stir up waters that have grown too stagnant.
  • You desire to foster and support your mental agility, wit, and inner brilliance.
  • You want to learn more/work with about advanced technologies of all kinds.
  • You’d like to support a new creation or invention.
  • You want to strengthen group dynamics, form a group for a specific purpose, and/or honor your community.
  • You are launching any kind of web or social media presence or generally working with computers and the web.
  • You need to color outside of the lines.
  • You are ready for a paradigm shift.
  • You desire to focus on the future and what is to come.
  • You want to marry intellect with deep emotions for a fuller experience.

Be Wary Of:

  • Stubbornness   Aquarius is an aerial sign and air is the element of flexibility but it is also a fixed sign meaning that it can get into its sense of what is right and what is wrong and become very unmovable
  • Being too scattered Aquarius has an incredible mind but does not always possess the follow through to see its brilliant thoughts implemented into practical actions.
  • Apparent aloofness I say apparent because Aquarius is not really aloof but their objectivity can sometimes make them seem that way.
  • Complete detachment from the past while the past carries much with it that does need to be shed, the past also carries important lessons. Aquarius should take care not to throw the baby of the past out with the bathwater.
  • Overly Political Aquarius is the sign and area of the chart where we are most likely to ignore or break an important relationship in the name of political differences or let a single cause take over the whole of our lives.

Questions to Ponder:

Aquarius shows up in everyone’s chart – there is no such thing as “I don’t have Aquarius” because it is a cluster of stars in the sky and it is always there. Wherever Aquarius occurs in your chart these questions will help you get to know it better.

  • What parts of my past would I like to move beyond?
  • What new story and future potential do I want to step into?
  • What am I ready to invent?
  • What role(s) do I want to take on within my communities?
  • What is my relationship to technology and progress?
  • What political cause do I feel most strong about and what practical actions can I take to support it?
  • What inner brilliance is waiting to be unleashed?
  • Where do I need to rebel and buck the trends?

Active Imagination Journey:

Sit comfortably and take a deep breath. Close your eyes and listen to your breathing. Make each inhale and each exhale a little fuller and deeper than the last.

Feel your body slowly relaxing; feel each muscle letting go, your head; your chest; your arms and hands; your stomach; your hips, legs and feet; until all you are focused on is your breathing. Slowly in and slowly out.

See that you are walking on a sun-dappled path through a beautiful wood. It is dusk and quiet and still and peaceful. Notice your steps, your heartbeat, and your breath all in rhythm together.

The path begins to open up and you find yourself at the edge of the wood looking toward a smooth, glassy lake. There is short pier connecting the shore to the water and a small boat is tied at the end. Make your way to the edge of the lake and down the pier. You feel safe and peaceful here as you climb into the boat and remove its tether.

As soon as you are free from the pier a gentle breeze moves across your face and begins to carry you toward the center of the lake. You do not need to paddle and you trust that the spirit of the wind is taking you where you need to go. As you move across the lake you feel cradled in this boat, skimming slowly along the the mirrored surface, caressed by the delicate breeze. Allow the currents of the air and water to guide you in this vessel.

Your boat begins to slow as the winds recede and you are at the center of the lake. Close your eyes and sit for a few moments. Feel the subtle movements of the boat like a favorite rocking chair and the stillness of the air on your skin. Allow the rhythms of your body to fall in sync with the boat, the water, and the air.

Open your eyes and look over the edge of the boat at the surface of the water. It is perfectly smooth and you see your reflection crystal clear. Take a moment to stare into this watery mirror, looking yourself in the eyes. Acknowledge the miracle of your own life and ask your reflection what you need to let go of, what needs to change. As you ask this question, a gentle wind ripples across the water, distorting your reflection, turning the mirrored surface into a window through which you can see the parts of your past that no longer serve you. Observe this with no judgment. Like the gentle rocking of the boat, be gentle with yourself. Observe what you see and trust the truth of the water.

The water’s surface calms and returns to its perfectly smooth state. Look at your reflection again, now with the knowledge of what can be released. Acknowledge the miracle of your own life and ask your reflection to show your future self, the possibilities that will be open to you once you release the past. As you ask this question, a gentle wind ripples across the water, distorting your reflection, turning the mirrored surface into a window through which you can see all the potential available to you. Observe this with no judgment. Like the gentle rocking of the boat, be gentle with yourself. Observe what you see and trust the truth of the water.

The water’s surface calms and returns to its perfectly smooth state. Look at your reflection again and consider what the water has shown you what it can take away, where it can carry you, and your ability to call on its life-giving properties to create the future you desire.

Sit for a few moments and feel the subtle movements of the boat like a favorite rocking chair. Feel the air on your skin as a gentle breeze picks up again, slowly carrying your boat back toward the pier. You do not need to paddle and you trust the spirit of the wind. As you move across the lake you feel cradled in this boat, skimming slowly along the the mirrored surface, caressed by the delicate breeze. Allow the currents of the air and water to guide you back to shore.

Once you have reached the pier, step out of the boat and give yourself a moment to stand on the pier, looking out across the elegant, mysterious lake. Express your gratitude for the insights you’ve been given.

When you are ready, begin walking back on the sun-dappled path through the beautiful wood. It is dusk and quiet and still and peaceful. Notice your steps, your heartbeat and your breath all in rhythm together. Become aware of your presence in your physical body. Allow your mind to gently return to the present moment where you are sitting comfortably, listening to your breath.

When you feel ready, open your eyes.

 

Altar/Ritual:

Our ritual for Aquarius is going to be a bathing ritual in honor of all of that water.

You will need:
1 cup kosher salt
1 pinch of dried peppermint
1 pinch of dried lemongrass

1 pinch baking soda
3 whole black peppercorns
An incense that you love
Washed and clean clothes
(they don’t have to be new but they need to have been freshly washed)
Something from your past you would like to shed.
A future possibility you want to step into.
Combine the salt, herbs, baking soda, and peppercorns together. As you mix the ingredients focus and pray over what you are ready to let go of and what you are ready to step into moving forward. You may want to write both of these down in petition form.Run your bath and add the ingredients to the bathtub. You may add the ingredients loosely but do be aware that clean up might require more of you if you choose that route. You may also place the ingredients in a muslin bag and add that to the bathtub. If you only have a shower place the ingredients in a muslin bag and hang it on your shower nozzle so that the spray goes through the bag and then onto your body.

Set yourself up so that after your bath you have your incense ready to burn and you will be able to step through the smoke and then access your clean clothes.

Take your bath, allow yourself to focus on what you are ready to leave behind. See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel yourself dropping it into the water. Every time you run water over your body see, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel how more of the old story is being dissolved, released, and shed.

When you are ready stand up and drain the bath. Affirm and acknowledge that as the water circles down the drain all that you have released is going into the deep earth where it can be transformed into something good and useful once more.

Standing naked, do not dry yourself off with a towel but let yourself air dry. Light the incense and when you are ready to step out of your past and into your future, walk through the sacred smoke.

Your clean clothes should be waiting on the other side, put them on and as you do so affirm and acknowledge that you are now fully inhabiting your new story, new possibility, you are calling in your future.

Say any words of thanksgivings and leave any offerings you like as a final act to this rite.

 

About my Co-Author:

sara-magnusonSara Magnuson  is a crafter of spiritual supplies, a reader of cards, a diviner of animals, and the co-founder of Candlesmoke Chapel. Her personal practice is eclectic, animistic, and ancestral. The guidance she provides is based in the messages of Nature and its role in how we move through this world.

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Freedom and our well-made commitments

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracles,

Some phone calls come in and – even before picking it up – you just know something is wrong. One of those calls came the day after Christmas this year at 5am. Soon I found myself with my mother in an antiseptic waiting room under harsh fluorescent lights, so early that the sky was still dark and the one good coffee shop did not yet have the espresso machine working and ready.

The doctor came out, told us what we needed to know, and – thankfully – it was good news, so we grabbed our bags, water bottles, and began making our way down the corridor with various beads and talismans ringing with our movements like quiet little bells.

As we walked, we passed her by, a sister for sure, a bit older than my parents, sitting with a large plastic magnifying mirror perched precariously on the thin armrest of an uncomfortable waiting room chair.

She was, as some say here, “putting on her face.” Her foundation, blusher, and lipstick had already been completed, and she was working on her eyes. Hands trembling, mascara wand unsteady, eyes full of tears. A sister for sure and one in pain, so we stopped. And in the way that many people know, we simply looked and said, “Well…” Meaning, well, tell us your story so that we might listen for awhile and be together and share the burden.

And, of course, she did. In an early morning, none of us prepared for what was to come, beautifully accented with the flavor of her mother tongue of Spanish, she told us. Really she told us in one sentence: “Well, you know how men are…” And the tears started to roll, for us too.

They had been married for fifty years, with children and grandchildren and a whole big, wonderful, mess of extended family. He was a little man, short, and as she spoke I saw him, and I knew him because I have had relatives who are the same: hard workers you can always spot because their beautiful hands are scarred to hell and rough, decked out with silver rings and chunks of real turquoise, big belt buckles and shiny boots, a love of the smell of grease and oil, and the sound of acoustic guitar.

They had been married for fifty years, and mostly it had been good; but over the last few weeks he had lost his temper more than usual, had lost weight, and didn’t say anything but grimaced in pain and frowned more than usual…because you know how men are. These men, her men, my men too – they don’t say when they hurt, don’t even really want to allow themselves to hurt, until there is nothing but hurt. She knew. Knew as soon as he got mean; knew because she knew his family and knew what took all of them – cancer.

And so it was. This was an exploratory operation, one he would come out of, but also one that would tell her how bad it was, how long they had together. And so the tears ran as she shared with us that she hadn’t told la familia yet, hadn’t told her Padre and their congregation because it was just too much at the moment.

We prayed together to La Señora and promised that we would light devotional candles for her and her beloved. They have been burning steadily since then. We laughed too about how none of us were wearing bras and all of us had runny mascara because the morning started with tears as we waited to hear news about men we loved who had been stoic in their suffering and would do their best to comfort us and joke around even while laying down in a hospital bed with tubes attached every which way…because you know how men are.

In that statement, one that so many women I know have made, that morning I saw what I always see– a shake of the head in frustration and eyes soft with love; but I also saw the freedom that flows from our well-made commitments, the ones we choose to make and the ones we choose to keep.

This is not so much the freedom of running on the beach half-naked with the wind through your hair (although, blessed be the grace in this, too); no, it is the freedom of getting to the hospital before sunrise without wearing a bra and having a real conversation with a total stranger because this is what your commitment demands of you today.

It is the freedom of knowing that your mettle will be tested again and again in the name of love and knowing that you will rise and show up each and every time, even when your mascara is running and your face is wet with tears. And so I say, blessed be our well-made commitments and blessed be all commitments we have chosen freely.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Ask and Answer Tarot Meanings: The Fool

Learning and Community

M

iracles, if there is one question a tarot reader gets asked again, and again and AGAIN it is what is the meaning of a specific card.

I’m not a fan of this question because I think that rote Tarot meanings only take you so far, and they certainly do NOT give you the tools to really make the readings your own.

I think questions, the right questions, do a much better job of that. That is why I created 20 Question Tarot.

This is a companion series to that class. In 20 Question Tarot we work with questions to get to the deepest meanings that each card has for you personally.

In the Ask and Answer Tarot series I am going to give you 6 questions that each Tarot card inspires you, the reader, to ask either yourself or the person you are reading for and 2 questions that will help you get to know the card a little bit better.

 

The Fool

Card Number: 0 (in some decks 22)

Ruling planet: Uranus

Element: Air

Season: Spring

 

Questions for the Fool:

These two questions will help you get to know the Fool a little bit better:

1.) What does the Fool help you do for others?

2.) What does the Fool prevent you from doing for others?

 

Questions from the Upright Fool:

When the Fool card appears upright in a reading, these three questions will help you reveal its message.

1.) What are you ready to start?

2.) What are you willing to risk?

3.) What tools are required to accomplish your goals?

 

Questions from the Reversed Fool:

When the Fool card appears reverse in a reading, these three questions will help you navigate its advice.

1.) What practical/obvious details are you ignoring?

2.) What bad decisions in the past might be setting you up for, or contributing to your failure right now?

3.) What does right relationship to full-hearted faith look and feel like for you?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.