New Moon in Aries: Blessed Be The Hell Raisers

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracles,

The Sun is in Aries and so is today’s New Moon. I’m blessed with many Rams in my family and today we are celebrating the birthday of one of my favorites – my Dad! I rarely think of myself as a rebel, but I come out of a family that is full of them…outlaws, underdogs, and yes, hell raisers. That’s one reason why they have a special place in my heart. Another is that I believe the hell raisers are often angels in full disguise; I’ve seen golden pinions shining through more than one scarred bomber jacket and scarred back.

Maybe you have too.

When I sat down to write the prayer for this month’s new moon I knew it was time to honor them; that the hell raisers needed their own special blessing. And so…

Blessed be the hell raisers.

The ones who raise fists and eyes to a wide open sky in anger and rage and all their tattered hope.
The vixens who dare to walk the room with their too short skirts and their too high heels and their too red lips.
The Doers and the Gotta Get It Done-ers who cannot, for the life of them, just sit still.
The impatient ones who are not going to wait, or be reasonable or be calm, who will fight no matter what.
With their rebel yells, their black leather, their ivory skulls and red roses worn like so many pearls and rubies beyond price.
Trying their damnedest, in all of the ways that they are told they can’t or shouldn’t or must not, to literally raise hell back up to the heavens with their ravens’, their smokers’ illicit cries – proclaiming that we too are part of the story and our secret love affair is with justice.

Blessed be the hell raisers.

The risk takers and the heroes, first responders and soldiers, who plunge ahead when everyone else cuts and runs.
The rash ones, remembering that “rash” is not that far from the old Hebrew “ruach” very breath of soul and essence.
The dancers who don’t care who might be looking, who dance for the sheer joy of electric movement from the heart to the toe, who dance for the dance itself and will not stop.

Blessed be the hell raisers.

The outlandish and the outlaws, who fit in nowhere, and so with nails and sharp teeth and more than enough wildness carved out and created their own, staring down all that is said to be impossible with a knowing glance that says, “sit back and watch.”
Bad and dangerous.
Criminal and Scandalous.
Ever pushing the envelope just a little bit farther.
Representing for all that is wild, all that is unruly.

Blessed be the hell raisers.

The secret missionaries and incognito bodhisattvas of ghetto and goulag, gangland and waste lands whose bright righteousness cannot help but shine out among the spikes and thorns, for it too, is a bit of a rebel and will not be contained.

In love and blessings,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Aries the Ram

Divination and Dreams

I

t is spring time here in the Northern Hemisphere and with both the Equinox and Easter right around the corner my social media feeds are filled with charming pastoral scenes of chicks and rabbits and lambs…but the mighty ram is there too just waiting for its moment.

Luckily the wait is over! Join us in getting to know the one and only Aries.

Aries is the 1st sign in the zodiacal wheel, marking the beginning of the Astrological New Year. This sign is attuned to the element of Fire, and is a cardinal sign. The Sun is in Aries from March 20th (Vernal/Autumnal Equinox) through April 19th. Cardinal signs always represent leadership and the purest expression of certain virtues; for Aries and all of the Fire signs this is symbolized by its arrival at the turning of the Equinox where Winter finally and officially gives way to Spring (in the Northern hemisphere) and Summer gives way to Autumn (in the Southern). Represented by the Ram and specifically the Ram bearing the golden fleece who was both hero and sacrificial victim, Aries combines bravery and adventure with a desire to protect, as well as a powerful will. Aries is fun loving, courageous, and at its best willing to not only protect, but lay its life on the line in service to others.

Ram as Aries: By Briana Saussy

AriesAlthough the sign Aries is ruled by the planet Mars and often associated with the Greek God of War by the same name, Aries is not all war making, weapon swinging, and bluster.

In fact, the constellation Aries has less to do with war and a martial aspect and much more to do with daring rescue attempts, sacrifices, and the ancient and deeply honored work of the Shepherd. Before we get to that though, let’s take a moment to see how truly old this story is.

Like many of our other constellations, Aries and its association with the Ram is very old but before Aries was the Ram itself, it was a Shepherd.

This was true for the Babylonians who recognized the same cluster of stars forming our modern Aries constellation and referred to it as “The Agrarian Worker” or the “Hired Man” as well as for the Egyptians who associated the constellation with the great God Amon-Ra, a male figure depicted with a Ram’s head.

In our less agrarian place and time it might be difficult to recognize how essential shepherds were to the community but they were, and they still are.

Shepherds and others who took on the role of cultivating, domesticating and protecting live stock from natural predators exerted a strong civilizing influence on early societies. Paradoxically, Shepherds themselves are often depicted as only part tame and part wild – it does take a special kind of soul to be outside 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in all kinds of weather accompanied only by the animals he is charged with caring for. For these reasons, the figures in both Babylon and Egypt associated with Aries are also associated with fertility, protection, and the running current of the life force itself.

It is in the image of the Shepherd that we find our first real glimpse into some of the defining characteristics of the zodiac sign Aries, specifically we find that Aries is associated with a strong protective impulse. This can at first be surprising because typically Aries is seen as martial and more and more the martial and the protective have been separated in common culture. But the truth is more complicated and often the individuals who are most likely to be heroes are motivated by a desire to assist and help those who cannot help themselves, as well as to protect the weak and innocent. Aries, like its opposing sign Libra, is more concerned with justice than many people think.

By the time the ancient Greeks were spinning their stories with the stars the role of the Shepherd was taken over by that of the Ram, but it wasn’t any Ram; it was the Ram of the legendary golden fleece that Jason of the Argonauts would later pursue and steal with the aid of his witch wife Medea.

AriesThe story begins with a curse. There was an evil stepmother who was envious of her husband’s two first born children – a young girl and a young boy. She cursed the land where the family lived with a great famine so that everyone was hungry and then created a false oracle from the Oracle at Delphi, claiming that the only way to break the curse was for the King, her husband, to kill his son.

This part of the tale clues us in to one of Aries’ weak points – an easily inflated ego that wishes to “kill” off any psychic offspring that might also have a share of power, and a tendency towards envy when all is not as it should be.

The King was indeed ready to sacrifice his son and in a story that sounds eerily familiar to those raised in any Biblical traditions, he was at the point of spilling his son’s blood when a magical Ram appeared.

This aspect of the story speaks to another potential weak point of Aries – leaping before looking or proceeding straight ahead without having all of the information.

The Ram of the Golden Fleece appeared in order to rescue the boy and his sister after being asked to do so by the swift-footed God of the crossroads, Hermes (Mercury in Roman times). The sacrifice of an innocent child was stopped and both the young girl and young boy got on the back of the ram who then flew through the sky.

Here we see one of the most positive aspects of Aries, for this is the sign for whom the concept of “impossible” is not real or relevant. Rams flying across the sky and over the ocean? Something that’s never been done or even attempted before? Aries is not only interested in what others consider mere fantasy, it is bound and determined to defy a narrow concept of reality and bring the impossible to life.

During the flight the young girl tumbled to her death but the young boy made it safely into the mysterious and magical land of Colchis. Once he arrived he sacrificed the Ram of the Golden Fleece as a thanks offering to Zeus (under instruction from Hermes to do so) and then offered the Golden Fleece to the local King who in turn gave him his daughter to wed.

Several more essential qualities of Aries come out at this point in the tale. The first is that Aries, though a cardinal sign, has more of a liminal quality to it than is often understood. The obviously liminal signs like Scorpio or say, Pisces, have their own otherworldly presence but Aries does too – especially in terms of physicality and the body. There is an intuitive understanding of body and the ways that the physical body can be worked with to achieve great feats that is particular to Aries.

We also see clearly in this part of the tale Aries’ willingness to sacrifice itself for the greater good. Many modern astrologers talk about the “selfishness” of Aries and miss out on the obvious fact that the opposite is also quite true: this sign can engage in acts of utter selflessness when the situation requires it.

Finally we see the dance between risk and reward that is also a deep part of Aries story; here is a young boy who is about to be sacrificed only to go on a great (and terrifying) adventure, wherein he loses his sister, loses the one animal companion he has, and gains a wife and a crown. Another intuitive aspect of Aries is their understanding that without risk there can be no real reward.

The golden fleece was placed in a holy shrine and, as mentioned above, its story continues long after this cast of characters were deep in the earth. This speaks to yet another quality of Aries. As the first sign of the zodiac, the Ram is concerned with impressions – making them and leaving them. Given the central role that the Golden Fleece plays in some of the most beloved epic stories from antiquity, I would say that our Ram accomplished exactly that.

Ram As Animal: By Sara Magnson

AriesThe Ram is a mighty and peculiar creature.

For all the power and force associated with these animals, though, it’s easy to forget that

Rams are Sheep.

This is important to note because the word Sheep has developed a negative connotation in colloquial speech, meaning someone who is a mindless follower; however, as we have seen from the mythology and astrology, Aries the Ram is anything but. How and why do we perceive the Ram as somehow different from the Sheep? First, let’s look at what all Sheep have in common.

The physical form of Sheep is nimble, agile, and sure-footed. They trust the ability of their unlikely bodies, with thick torsos and spindly legs, to jump and maintain balance when other creatures would doubt themselves. They see in color, have excellent peripheral vision, and Bighorn Sheep in particular (a different species than typical “farm Sheep”) have excellent depth perception, which allows them to literally see and take chances that others may not.

As a prey animal, all Sheep have incredibly good senses of hearing and smell. Taste is also an important sensory aspect and, as herbivores, grazers, and foragers, Sheep exhibit clear preferences toward different foods. As ruminant animals, their four-chambered stomachs are built to extract a high amount of nutrients from their plant-based diets.

Sheep are inquisitive animals and, like the sign of Aries, have the ability to discover and seize opportunity in seemingly impossible situations. We can also all take a cue from Sheep’s highly efficient digestive system to be very deliberate when working with the things that fuel us, making sure we’re getting all we can out of them.

The skin and fleece of Sheep have been revered for ages – hides and wool to create objects from the practical and mundane to the magnificent and magical. When thinking of Sheep’s hide, remember that skin is considered an organ and is, in fact, the largest organ of the body. Protecting all the delicate things inside, skin is essentially a huge sensor packed with nerves and keeps our brain in touch with the outside world. The majestic fleece of Sheep, like our own hair, is directly connected to their skin and provides an intense sensitivity, as well as protection from the elements, allowing them to thrive in diverse climates and environments. It is this protective and armor-like quality of Sheep’s fleece that contributes to its many magical qualities.

Socially, Sheep desire order and prefer a defined structure, establishing who is in charge and how each member of their social group falls in rank. They are gregarious and form strong, close, relationship sub-groups within their flock.

AriesSheep are more intelligent and sensitive than we often think, having a good memory and the ability to differentiate facial expressions and the emotional states of other animals, including humans.

Sheep are also very good at hiding any injury or sickness so as not appear weak, which can be good for avoiding predators looking for an easy meal.

These social traits are exhibited in the influence of the sign of Aries in many ways. There is the desire for order and structure; the ability to see more than others think you do, and definitely more than you let on; and the tendency to hide weakness when you could be asking for help. As previously mentioned, Sheep are inquisitive animals and, no matter the current interpretation of the word, can be brave and courageous. They are willing to break through barriers (literally and figuratively) and face uncharted territory to seek a better life.

Sheep have a long history with humans, being one of the earliest animals to be domesticated, and, as we have learned, there is an entire vocation dedicated to caring for Sheep. The word “Shepherd” derives plainly from Old English – shep/sheep and herd, literally someone who watches over the Sheep. These animals provide us with food in the form of meat and milk (and cheese, my favorite!), and hide, sinew, and fleece for clothing and comfort.

To talk specifically about the Ram, versus Sheep in general, we must discuss some topics of gender and gender roles because Rams are biologically the males of the species. This is also the area where we discover why we perceive the Ram as somehow different from Sheep.

First of all, it is the Rams who possess the magnificent horns. Ewes of different breeds can have horns, but they are much smaller. Without getting into a separate discussion on the various ways gender may be expressed in animals, let us talk about how it is most commonly expressed in Sheep. The males have bigger horns because they are the protectors of the flock and they use them to intimidate and to fight. Horns are impressive structures, no matter what animal they come from or if they are male or the female. The horns of Rams in particular are in the shape of the Sacred Spiral, adding even more depth to their magical associations. They are borne directly from the head, just as our hair grows, and indicate potent creativity and mental acuity.

When we examine the Ram associated with Aries and the mythology surrounding it all, it is very male-centered. Aries is identified with typically male traits – the Sun, war, aggressiveness, etc. In the tale of the Golden Fleece, it is the brother who survives and his sister is the one who doesn’t make it to the end. In reality, it is the females of the species Ovis who have unfortunately inspired the suggestion that “sheep” means mindless follower and it is the males, the Ram, that evokes power, agility, and intellectual fortitude. I argue, however, the nature of Aries and the Ram affects all of us, male or female.

I am a straight, cis-gender woman and I am an Aries. I am not on the cusp of anything and am in the dead center of Aries. I can tell you from forty years of personal life experience that the typically-male-leaning undertones of Aries the Ram are something I am constantly working to balance within myself. Like it or not, we all exhibit both male and female tendencies, ways of thinking, emotions, actions, etc., and we are all working to balance and discern those with what our society tells us and demands of us. We all have a strong, powerful Ram within us and we also all have delicate parts, and everything in between.

The Ram of Aries asks us to find that aspect of ourselves that is unafraid, that is bold and daring, that is sensitive and nimble, and to trust and encourage its instinct. When you feel nervous, afraid, fearful, worried, and/or in a state of over-analyzing, call on the energy of Ram to connect you with a very specific part of yourself, a part that we all have. Embrace the surety of purpose that Ram embodies and allow yourself to tap into his bravery.

Call on the Ram When:

  • You need to take action!
  • You want to call forth more energy and enthusiasm.
  • Risk is required.
  • The protection of others, especially those who are too young, weak, or innocent to care for themselves is needed.
  • You are called to achieve something daring and great.
  • You want to come into a deeper, more intuitive relationship with your physical body.
  • You have to fight or enter into conflicts.
  • You want to be a hero/heroine.
  • You desire to leave a strong and lasting impression.
  • You want to speak your truth.
  • You need to start a project.
  • You are ready to do the impossible.

Be Wary Of

  • Leaping without Looking – In their quest for adventure and desire to help, sometimes Aries can land itself into sticky situations because they don’t get all of the facts, make certain assumptions, and dive fully into troubled waters.
  • Bossiness – From one cardinal sign to another let’s just put it out there – Aries can be bossy, controlling, and utterly convinced that they understand and no one else does.
  • Jealousy – Aries is drawn to risk but it is also drawn to reward. If they see someone getting more, accomplishing more, or having a greater impact than they do, they can start to feel envious and dwell more on others successes than on the things that will help them bring their A game.
  • Superficiality – The shadow side of leaving impressions is going for quick and easy tricks that, when looked at more deeply, are full of just sound and fury. This most often shows up as a focus on muscles and lipstick as opposed to skill and real talk.
  • Catching Fire – Aries has a TEMPER. Have you ever seen a real Ram ticked off about something? If so, then you get it. Although the temper here is more like a flash fire – it burns hot and bright and then it is gone and forgotten, it does have the ability to singe anyone who gets too close.

Questions to Ponder:

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

  • What does being a hero mean to me?
  • What are the roles courage and bravery play in my life?
  • How well do I understand and work with my body?
  • What and who am I willing to lay down my life for?
  • What kind of impression do I want to make?
  • What is hard for me to get started with and begin?
  • What am I willing to guard and protect?
  • What is the role of risk in my life?
  • What impossibility do I want to make possible?

Active Imagination Journey:

Cultivate Calmness.
Ground, Center, and Anchor in the ways that feel good and right to you.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that you are standing at the edge  of a great cliff and beyond the cliff is the bright blue sea.

Affirm and acknowledge that you have come to this place at this time to learn a new teaching about your life, one that is gifted to you from the stars, you have come to encounter the Ram.

Acknowledge that it does not matter where Aries occurs in your chart or whether you were born under this Sun sign or not – we all have this constellation present in some portion of our natal chart.

As you are ready, look straight out at the horizon line where sky meets earth.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that an object floats just over the horizon line and s slowly becoming larger and larger as it approaches. It seems to glow like the sun and as you narrow your eyes to see it more clearly you find that what is moving towards you is the Golden Fleeced Ram of Aries itself.

Affirm and acknowledge your inner knowing that the Ram is coming for you today, that it is willing, if you are, to take you for a ride into the heavens where you may see your life from a bird’s eye perspective.

As the Ram lands softly beside you the invitation is clear: get on board.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel yourself climb onto the strong Ram. Curl your fingers into its soft, gold, fleece and around its great curling horns.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that the Ram becomes air born and you are now able to see below. The blue sea witnessed at the beginning of the active imagination has changed and transformed into the terrain of your life, from the moment that you were born and took your first breath to right here and right now.

As you hold onto the Ram’s golden fleece, see, sense, touch, know, and feel the question that is being asked:
“Where are you willing to take a risk?”

Look down, look down, look down – knowing that you are safe and able to see clearly from this vantage point.
Look down, look down, look down – acknowledging the areas where you have perhaps played it too safe for too long.
Look down, look down, look down – visioning clearly the places where now a risk is required, an intelligent, brave, but also calculated risk.

Affirm and acknowledge that with the Ram sets you gently down in new terrain, your life after certain risks have been taken and rewards have been granted.

Affirm and acknowledge with the Ram as your guide you can discover not only the best risks to take but the best ways to take them and as you are ready ask Aries, the Ram what it would like you to do with this newfound insight.

Give yourself time to truly listen and enjoy.

When you are ready to depart allow yourself a few final moments to say goodbye and to agree to any promises, oaths, or exchanges that you can in good faith make.

Breathe in a blessing on your body and as you exhale bring your awareness back to the room that you are in. Feel the weight of the air upon your skin and allow yourself to stretch and move in any ways that feel good and nourishing to you.

As a final act, note what the teaching from Aries was to and for you.

Reflect on the message you were given and the task you were asked to do, and then in true Aries fashion, make it happen.

Altar/Ritual

Make space at your altar, or create a new area as you see fit, to show your reverence for Ram. It is possible to procure ethically sourced Ram’s horns, but if you cannot or don’t want to do that, acquire a piece of wool (and raw, unprocessed wool is even better – ask at your local yarn supplier). Place the horns or wool at the center of your altar space. Surround the horns or wool with a small bowl of water, a plant (a small container of grass is perfect for Ram, but any green plant will work well), and a candle.

Light the candle and place your hands on the horns or wool. As you watch the flame, reflect on the fiery nature of Aries and your ride with Ram. Ask for Ram’s essence, courage, and wisdom to guide you and show you the ways to achieve your goals.

After you spend time with Ram at your altar, engage in some kind of physical activity. Do whatever you are physically able and comfortable doing – take a walk or a run, dance around your house, do some gentle stretching, etc. Part of honoring Ram is honoring and acknowledging your own body. Each time you work with Ram take a moment to move and recognize and be thankful for your physical form.

Return to this Ram altar and movement practice whenever you need to reconnect with Fire and with Ram’s knowledge and lessons. Make sure you refresh the water periodically and keep the plant healthy and strong. And remember, always observe common sense fire safety when burning candles.

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.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Ask and Answer Tarot Meanings: The Emperor

Learning and Community

T

he Emperor is next up in our  Ask and Answer Tarot Meanings series, the companion to my e-course on Tarot, 20 Question Tarot.

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 Emperor

Card Number: IV

Ruling planet: Jupiter

Element: Earth

Season: Late Autumn/Early Winter

 

Questions for the Emperor:

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

1.) What does the Emperor help you do for other people?

2.) The Emperor is clothed in rich red and purple robes, marking out his station as a king and ruler. What is the relationship between visibility and authority?

 

Questions from the Upright Emperor:

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

1.) What skills have you mastered?

2.) Where in your life are you wielding power and authority wisely?

3.) What do you do to bless other people?

 

Questions from the Reversed Emperor:

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

1.) Where is power and/or authority thwarting or blocking you?

2.) Where are you too controlling or rigid?

3.) Are you willing to step aside and let others learn and try?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

A Litany of Blessings For You, For Your Friends, and To Share

Prayer and Blessing

M

arch 1st is a magical day for me.

It is the day that my little boy was born, 6 years ago now, and I became his momma.

I don’t talk about my son very much in the public sphere, not because he does not occupy my thoughts (he is the center of them always) but because in the age of internet everything, I respect his privacy, my privacy, the privacy of our family and I want to give him the opportunity to decide when, what, how, and with whom he wants to share. Sovereignty starts early.

That said, he, along with his dad, are two of my greatest blessings. And I firmly believe that one should be blessed and be a blessing in turn, so it’s time to share, in honor of him.

Here they are: A Litany of Blessings. Every daily blessing I have written in aural (audio + oral) magic.

Let them wash over you. Listen to a few or to the entire 40+ minute track, share it with a friend for maximum blessings awesome.

 

And happy birthday Jasper; thank you for blessing me.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Ask and Answer Tarot Meanings: The Empress

Learning and Community

M

iracles, it is now time to encounter the Empress in our Ask and Answer Tarot Meanings series, the companion to my e-course on Tarot, 20 Question Tarot.

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 Empress

Card Number: III

Ruling planet: Virgo

Element: Earth

Season: Late Summer/Early Autumn

 

Questions for the Empress:

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

1.) Notice the Empress’ scepter – a long staff with a sphere at its tip. How does she wield this tool and what does it help her accomplish? What is the Empress’ relationship to Sovereignty?

2.) What does the Empress prevent you from doing for other people?

 

Questions from the Upright Empress:

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

1.) What seeds have you sown that are now ready to be harvested?

2.) What successes are you ready to celebrate?

3.) Where are you able to be especially generous and loving?

 

Questions from the Reversed Empress:

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

1.) Where are you being too lazy or self-indulgent?

2.) Where are you being too selfish?

3.) What seeds have you sown that ended up not bearing fruit and how might you start over?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Talking Shop Wrap and Review: Secrets to Writing a Perfect Speech with Dr. Michelle Mazur

Learning and Community

W

elcome to a brand new series: Talking Shop Wrap and Review.

This is a monthly series where I will briefly delve into our latest Talking Shop show and the points that were especially smart, surprising, and useful (there are always so many).

If you are new to my little corner of the web or new to Talking Shop let me give you the lowdown: Talking Shop is a podcast now in its 5th year. It is hosted by Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady and moi. You can access every episode right here for free, and yes, you are welcome.

This past week on Talking Shop we hosted the wonderful Dr. Michelle Mazur. This was Dr. Michelle’s second visit to Talking Shop and this time our topic was all about Speeches – how to write them, pitch them, and nail them.

Theresa and I create our show topics and put together our guest list a year in advance – often our guests are busy and popular because they are at the top of the game in their industry – so we want to make sure we give them plenty of time to pencil us into their planners!

Of course before we invite the guests we come up with the topics, and the topic of how to give a great speech was one that we had been itching to do for so long. We both really believe that the world needs to hear your unique voice and perspective AND we know that getting up in front of an audience and nailing a speech is something that makes many of our fellow sacred artists tremble in their boots. That meant it was the PERFECT topic for our show.

Once we knew we were going to talk about speeches we also knew we had to have Dr. Michelle back! Her primary focus is public speaking and speeches that place you, as she says, in a category of one.

We were extra excited because Theresa and I both have speaking engagements this year…I’ll be leading a Sacred Arts Sojourn in Santa Fe and later this Autumn speaking at St. Johns College and Theresa continues to speak and teach as she promotes her awesome book.

One of the big points that Dr. Michelle made right away is that a successful speech has a single main idea to drive home and no more than three supporting points to emphasize that core message.

This totally took me back to my debate days when we were taught to craft three main arguments to support our case, whatever that happened to be. It was also really welcome news for some of our audience members who can easily feel flummoxed by the question: where to begin??? Answer: Start with one idea.

Dr. Michelle also pointed out that contrary to what most people think and do, when you craft your speech the introduction and conclusion are the LAST parts that you craft. Do all of the body work and then circle back around to create an unforgettable opening and closing.

A final point that really stuck with me? Treat your speech as an offering, an extension of your business, not this weird “extra” thing that gets its own category. Treating your speech like a business means that you will figure out really basic questions up front (like how will you be paid) but also apply the professional standards you have to the entire process from start to finish.

We all agreed, for instance, that the minimum amount of time to give to speech preparation is a month, with Dr. Michelle advising at least three. That kind of time allotment is something most of us would assume going in when crafting a new offering but not necessarily what we would give ourselves to create a killer speech.

Of course, these are just a few of the highlights from our show. You can listen to the entire show here. We also invite you to join in for our next show which will cover a very important (but intimidating) topic: Search Engine Optimization with Liz Lockard.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Prayer for Prisoners ~ New Moon in Pisces

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

Today the moon is New in Pisces; a sign that I am deeply fond of as both my husband and son are fabulous fish!

Pisces is commonly known as the sign of artists, dreamers, and mystics, but what is less understood is that Pisces is also traditionally affiliated with the concept of prison, restriction, and self-imprisonment.

In my Baptist upbringing I was taught that bondage can be literal and physical, spiritual and emotional, or all of the above. While there were many teachings in my church experience I find deep fault with, this one carried a deep ring of truth with it. Imagine my surprise when, years later in college I would study the writings of a slave named Epictetus who said the same thing thousands of years ago and then went on to advise the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

I love all of my students and everyone that I am privileged to work with and for, but the prisoners I have known and worked with carry a special place in my heart. I don’t ever advertise my pro-bono services but the clients I do take on for pro-bono work are those that are incarcerated, coming out of incarceration, or in some cases, going in. Somehow they find me and together we work to make things a little bit better.

Prisoners are all too often unseen and unheard and our current system of incarceration makes continual family support next to impossible to achieve – ironically, at a time when it is probably needed the very most – but I wrote this prayer not just for the literal prisoners and those in locked institutions. I wrote it for everyone who has ever felt imprisoned – be it in a category, a set of walls, a body, language, place, or state of mind that allows little in the way of clean air and freedom to come in.

As the sign affiliated with those who have experienced prison, Pisces is also the sign of mercy and compassion and it is my hope that this blessing will deliver some of both to all who feel that they have been locked in, locked down, and imprisoned.

Prisoner’s Prayer

Blessed be the prisoners.

Those that are literally on lock down in order to keep them from hurting themselves or others, in order to keep them safer than they would be otherwise, in order to keep  them controlled, because of justice and because of injustice. 

Blessed be the prisoners.
Those that are politically, economically, and spiritually bound up so that there is not the freedom to do and to be, to think, to say, to act, to worship, to love, and to bless in the ways that are most right and best for them.

Blessed be the prisoners.
And the ones that love them; their families, their friends, lovers, children, colleagues, prayer groups and congregations of all kinds who wish to be near their beloveds, to be able to say the word or give the touch that can bring hope and healing in its wake, and who, through no fault of their own, must struggle so to offer even that.

Blessed be the prisoners.
In the prisons of iron and concrete, in the prisons of word and ideal, in the prisons of poverty, ignorance, and despair, and in the prisons of the barbed wire wrapped heart, no matter where they dwell, they are seen and they are known by those who care to look within their communities and within their mirrors.

Blessed be the prisoners.
Who have committed the errors and the acts unspeakable and feel that now, there is nothing left to do but wait for death, for no redemption is possible.

Blessed be the prisoners.
The ones who will stay behind bars forever and the ones who live every day lives nevertheless seeking the ability to slip out and away from the bondage that takes on so many different colors, shapes, sizes, and forms.

Blessed be the prisoners.
Within or outside of their jail cells and dungeons and traps of all kinds may they look within, not without, and discover the ocean of freedom welling up and washing over their scarred and sacred hearts.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.