All in the Cards ~ How to Cleanse, Consecrate, and Bless a Tarot deck

Divination and Dreams

E

ver since launching my first ever e-course, 20 Question Tarot, I have had several students write to me asking really excellent basic tarot questions. As a response I have created “All in the Cards”, a Canto series aimed at answering those questions and sharing my love of all things tarot.

 

 

For those of you enrolled in 20 Question Tarot, I hope these posts deepen your already profound understanding and if you have questions feel free to send them my way! For those of you who would like to learn more about the course, head over here.

Today’s question is: How do you bless a tarot deck?

Before I answer this I’d like to dispel a common myth about decks. There is a pervasive belief that in order for the tarot to “work” for you, you need to be gifted with your first deck. This is not true.

Being gifted with a deck is lovely, but if you would like to explore the tarot you can do it whether you have been given a deck or find one for yourself that you really like. Tarot “works” for you, or rather, with you, when you have a real relationship to the cards.

There is another myth to take care of as well – in order for your blessing to be effective the deck has to be brand new and/or new to you. In other words, if you have a deck you have been working with for years and now want to bless it, it is too late. Nonsense. We can bless our sacred tools at any time and over and over again as we need to.

Now, onto what to do once you have your deck in hand! I am going to describe what I would do with a new deck for simplicity sake, those of you with decks that are good companions – altar as you see fit.

The first thing I like to do is cleanse my tarot deck. Some people see this act as removing negative vibes but I don’t personally ascribe to that view. Rather, I see it as an act of welcoming the deck home and also consecrating it as a talisman for my use. Interestingly, I have been gifted decks or received decks for promotional purposes that I cleansed and it became very clear that the deck was not mine but belonged to someone else. Usually the deck’s proper owner has shown up pretty swiftly once I cleansed the deck.

My favorite way to cleanse most paper items is with sacred smoke. I’ll leave you to choose what incense you would like to burn but obviously you want something that has a clean, clear, scent. Cedar, Juniper, Bay, and White Sage all bring this to mind for me.

Light the incense and allow it to begin smoking then pass the cards through the smoke three times. As you do this simply tune your attention to welcoming the cards and the relationship you are going to form with them, into your home.

Once you have done this I recommend that you Cultivate Calmness, and then Ground, Center, and Anchor.

Now that a firm connection has been established between deepest Earth and highest Heaven allow yourself to sit or stand with the cards in your hand. Ask the deck of cards the following questions:

  • What is your name?
  • What do I need to know in order to best take care of you?
  • What blessing do you have for me?
  • What blessing will you help me bring to others?
  • Is there anything else I need to know at this time?

Now you might think it is a strange thing to be talking to a deck of paper cards, but you are hoping to get some serious insight from that same deck of cards so striking up a conversation with them first should not really be that odd.

Write down the answers you receive and journal on them a bit if that makes sense.

Once you have answered all five questions you are ready to finally bless the deck. Now, there are many ways to bless anything but here is a blessing that I have worked with over my cards with great success:

Blessed Ones in whom I live, move, and have my being. From you all things emerge and unto You they do return. I ask this day for these cards to be blessed with clarity, love, and wisdom.

I ask for Clarity so that what I see and what I show to others is clear, makes sense, is transparent, accessible, and easy to understand. I ask for Clarity so that these cards work as the mirrors that they truly are – reflecting back to myself and to others the deepest truths which are already and always known by Soul.

I ask for Love so that all messages, all words, all visions received are brought forth in ways that are kind, compassionate, fierce, yet also gentle. I ask for Love so that these cards work as the wellspring that they truly are, delivering the healing waters that restore and bless into our lives even and most especially when the truths we need to hear are harsh and jagged.

I ask for Wisdom so that whatever is given by the cards and taken up by myself or by others is taken up with clarity and love intact and is put to use, practical and direct use, in the ways that are best. I ask for Wisdom so that these cards throw down true and their messages contain accurate descriptions of what is and what is to come but also and more essentially, what is always.

May it be so, amen.

Feel free to use this blessing and share it with others but also feel free to write your own blessing and discover your own blessing ways.

Once you have blessed the cards it is a good idea to place them in a box or bag that will be their permanent home. You can sprinkle herbs of your choice in the box or bag to further bless your deck. Personally I use wild crafted sage, lavender, and artemesia for this.

Enjoy your new deck and happy readings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Astro RX 2017

Sacred Arts

M

Miracles, it is September and as you may have noticed all of the planners and calendars and new organizational methods that promise to make 2017 YOUR BEST YEAR EVER!!! are already out in a bookstore or website near you.

Now I love a good calendar as much as the next person and I am positively dangerous when set loose in a store full of pretty stationary, pens, and planners. But I am concerned about some of the prevailing attitudes we have collected around the notion of planning.

The simplest way I can say it is that it feels more to me like our planners are doing us instead of we are doing our planners. Before the first sunrise of 2017 has even dawned some of us already have a year’s worth (or more) of commitments. And all I can say to that is: ugh.

This approach may seem logical and smart, but as I have written elsewhere, seeming is not being. I would encourage each of you to begin with a reflection on your natural rhythms and cycles – the ones that really make sense to and for you. It is with an eye to these natural rhythms that we find assistance through astrology – the study of the stars.

For the great and small celestial turnings, spirals, and moments of dancing together then moving apart are often much more attuned to what is happening here on earth and in our immediate lives than we might at first think. The ancients knew this which is why they followed the tenet of As Above, So Below.

So let us discover what is happening in the heavens so that we might be fully rooted here in this gorgeous earth. In this post we will go through the various phases of the moon, briefly look at what each of the planets will be up to in 2017, and of course I will give you pertinent retrograde dates and eclipse dates as well.

As always for every single point I will give you at least one question to consider. Why? Because although the popular way of teaching astrology (and most other things) is by telling you dear reader what I think they mean, I have found that a much better way of approaching anything in the sacred arts is to give you the tools to think about it, feel into it, and figure it out for yourself.

Questions, the right questions, can help you do just that. I teach both tarot and astrology in this manner and from the reports I have received and my own experience I know that it works. So get those pens and notebooks ready!

Looking to enchant your planner approach? Hop on the lunar letter list, bookmark this page, and pay attention to the end of October… we’ve got a very special surprise in the works!

And now, the dance of planets:

The Many Faces of the Moon

LunarLetter_FullMoonLa Luna is the most visible and easily trackable celestial body in the sky besides the sun. And so it makes complete sense that the earliest calendars were lunar to say nothing of the many ceremonies, rites, and feast days that honored Luna in her various phases.

Within the sacred arts there are four lunar phases to pay especial attention to: First Quarter, Full, Balsamic and/or Dark, and New.

New Moons are the best time to start any project or breathe new energy into any situation or area of your life. At this point the Moon is at the very beginning of her next 28 day phase – luna is starting fresh and so can we.

First Quarter Moons are best for looking at relationships and bringing harmony, balance, and intuitive insight to any given situation. Traditionally this phase of the moon was considered the best time to divine and the very famous Oracle at Delphi only gave out her divinations during this phase of the moon.

Full Moons illuminate the land and the sky, allowing us to “see in the dark” and making this the best time to look at and uncover the aspects of a situation that usually remain in the shadows; revelations occur during Full Moons.

Balsamic or Dark Moons are traditionally times to rest, fast, dream deeply, and banish anything that is no longer relevant and/or of use to you.

It is important to note that everyone has a very different relationship with the phases of the moon. While the above descriptions are tried and true in my life and the lives of many of my students and clients, I also know a hefty number of folks who feel (for instance) very depleted energetically during new moons and much more alive and full of energy during the Balsamic phase. Use the information as a springboard but then pay attention to your own experiences.

Below are the lunar phases for 2017 in central time. If you need help with timezone conversation go here.

And, if you want a specialized report on how each of these moons will affect you and play out in your personal natal chart and star-scape, you might want to check out my latest Astro RX Special Report: I See the Moon.

 

January 2017

1/5: First Quarter at  15 degrees Aries, 1:47 PM
Ask: What does right relationship to myself look and feel like?

1/12: Full Moon at 22 degrees Cancer, 5:34 AM
Ask: What are my dreams telling me?

1/27: New Moon at 8 degrees Aquarius, 6:07 PM
Ask: What do I want to broadcast out into the world?

1/19: Balsamic Moon at 0 degrees Scorpio, 4:13 PM
Ask: What stories about my wounds no longer serve me?

 

February

2/3: First Quarter at 15 degrees Taurus, 10:19 PM
Ask: What does right relationship to easy abundance look and feel like?

2/10: Full Moon at 22 degrees Leo, 6:33 PM + Penumbral Lunar Eclipse at 6:45pm
Ask: What am I no longer willing to be ashamed about?

2/18: Balsamic Moon at 0 degrees Sagittarius, 1:33 PM
Ask: What chains need to be broken?

2/26: New Moon at 8 degrees Pisces, 8:58 AM – Annular Solar Eclipse at 8:54 AM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief I no longer wish to follow in my creative and/or spiritual life and how can I reversed it today?

 

March

3/5: First Quarter at 15 degrees Gemini, 5:32 AM
Ask: What does right relationship to ideas and learning look and feel like?

3/12: Full Moon at 22 degrees Virgo, 9:54 AM – NOTE: daylight savings time begins
Ask: Where am I sovereign?

3/20: Balsamic Moon at 0 degrees Capricorn, 11:58 AM + Spring Equinox (sun enters Aries at 5:23 AM)
Ask: What competitions take me away from myself and my work?

3/27: New Moon at 7 degrees Aries, 10:57 PM
Ask: What am I ready to risk?

 

April

4/3: First Quarter at 14 degrees Cancer, 1:39 PM
Ask: What does right relationship to my family look and feel like?

4/11: Full Moon at 21 degrees Libra, 1:08 AM
Ask: Who are my partners and allies?

4/19: Balsamic Moon at 29 degrees Capricorn, 4:57 AM
Ask: What can I stop pretending to be/do?

4/26: New Moon at 6 degrees Taurus, 7:16 AM
Ask: Where do I feel really good?

 

May

5/2: First Quarter at 12 degrees Leo, 9:47 PM
Ask: What does right relationship to courage look and feel like?

5/10: Full Moon at 20 degree Scorpio, 4:42 AM
Ask: What do my scars show me?

5/18: Balsamic Moon at 28 degrees Aquarius, 7:33 PM
Ask: What connections are no longer relevant?

5/25: New Moon at 4 degrees Gemini, 2:44 PM
Ask: What really educates me?

 

June

6/1: First Quarter at 11 degrees Virgo, 7:42 AM
Ask: What does right relationship to cleanliness and order look and feel like?

6/9: Full Moon at 18 degrees Sagittarius, 8:10 AM – Jupiter DIRECT
Ask: What is my aim?

6/17: Balsamic Moon at 26 degrees Pisces, 6:33 AM
Ask: What addictive thoughts, behaviors, and/or attitudes do I need to banish?

6/23: New Moon at 2 degrees Cancer, 9:31 PM
Ask: Where am I hungry?

6/30: First Quarter at 9 degrees Libra, 7:51 PM
Ask: Where is it easy for me to have right relationships and where is it harder?

 

July

7/8: Full Moon at 17 degrees Capricorn, 11:07 PM
Ask: What do my gifts and talents tell me?

7/16: Balsamic Moon at 24 degrees Aries, 2:26 PM
Ask: Where do I need to be less impatient?

7/23: New Moon at 0 degrees Leo, 4:46 AM
Ask: What am I ready to share with my tribe and audience?

7/30: First Quarter at 7 degrees Scorpio, 10:23 AM
Ask: What does right relationship to mystery look and feel like?

 

August

8/7: Full Moon at 15 degrees Aquarius, 1:11 PM + Partial Lunar Eclipse at 1:21 PM + Launch of Spinning Gold 2017-18!
Ask: What messages do I keep receiving and ignoring? How can I stop ignoring them?

8/14: Balsamic Moon at 22 degrees Taurus, 8:15 PM
Ask: Where does lethargy and laziness not serve me?

8/21: New Moon at 28 degrees Leo, 1:30 PM – Solar Eclipse at 1:26pm
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief around being seen and beloved that I no longer wish to be influenced by and how can I reversed it today?

8/29: First Quarter at 6 degrees Sagittarius, 3:13 AM
Ask: What does right relationship with religion/spirituality look and feel like?

 

September

9/6: Full Moon at 13 degrees Pisces, 2:03 AM
Ask: What do my sensitivities taught me?

9/13: Balsamic Moon at 20 degrees Gemini, 1:25 AM
Ask: Where do I need to be less scattered and unfocused?

9/20: New Moon at 27 degrees Virgo, 12:30 AM
Ask: What do I want to plan for?

9/27: First Quarter at 5 degrees Capricorn, 9:53 PM
Ask: What does right relationship with recognition and appreciation look and feel like?

 

October

10/5: Full Moon at 12 degrees Aries, 1:40 PM
Ask: What do I put first?

10/12: Balsamic Moon 19 degrees Cancer, 10:20 PM
Ask: What are the emotions that consistently trip me up?

10/19: New Moon at 26 degrees Libra, 2:12 PM
Ask: Where do I need harmony and balance?

10/27: First Quarter at 4 degrees Aquarius, 4:22 PM
Ask: What does right relationship with my community look and feel like?

 

November

11/4: Full Moon at 11 degrees Taurus, 12:23 AM
Ask: What is luxurious to me?

11/10: Balsamic Moon 18 degrees Leo, 2:36 PM
Ask: What does false pride keep me from doing?

11/18: New Moon at 26 degrees Scorpio, 5:42 AM
Ask: What shadow am I ready to explore?

11/26: First Quarter at 4 degrees Pisces, 11:03 AM
Ask: What does right relationship with my intuition look and feel like?

 

December

12/3 Full Moon at 11 degrees Gemini, 9:47 AM – Mercury Retrograde begins
Ask: What do my friendships show me?

12/10: Balsamic Moon 18 degrees Virgo, 1:51 AM
Ask: What does the need for perfection prevent in my life?

12/18: New Moon at 26 degrees Sagittarius, 12:30 AM
Ask: What am I ready to set free?

12/26: First Quarter at 4 degrees Aries, 3:30 AM
Ask: What does right relationship to new beginnings look and feel like?

 

Lunar and Solar Eclipses in 2017

There are four eclipses in 2017. You can learn more about eclipses and how to work with them here. In short, I have found that eclipses are very useful for breaking long-held patterns of thought, behavior, attitude, and action that no longer serve. Many astrologers talk about eclipses in negative terms but don’t let that keep you from noting eclipse times and trying your hand at working with them in an intentional manner.

2/10: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse at 22 degrees Leo at 6:45pm
Ask: What am I no longer willing to be ashamed about?

2/26: Annular Solar Eclipse at 8 degrees Pisces at 8:54 AM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief I no longer wish to follow in my creative and/or spiritual life and how can I reversed it today?

8/7: Partial Lunar Eclipse at 15 degrees Aquarius at 1:21 PM
Ask: What message do I keep receiving and ignoring? How can I stop ignoring it?

8/21: Total Solar Eclipse at 28 degrees Leo at 1:26pm
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief around being seen and beloved that I no longer wish to be influenced by and how can I reversed it today?

 

 

Mercury Retrogrades for 2017

Every planet has retrograde periods but most people are only familiar with Mercury in Retrograde – mostly because many astrologers and non-astrologers alike make this period out to be terrible, full of bad luck, and extremely frustrating. It can be, but I prefer to practice with Mercury retrograde instead of in resistance to it.

You can learn more about Mercury retrograde in my Mercury rx archives here and check out this article to start to get a sense of how you might deepen your retrograde experience. If you are what I call Mercury-sensitive you will want to make a note of the things to do BEFORE Mercury goes retrograde and join up with the Mercury RX Survival Kit.

Here are the dates for the 2017 Mercury Retrogrades

December 19th 2016 – January 8th, 2017: Retrograde starts at 4:55am in Capricorn moves into Sagittarius on 1/5, ending on 1/8 at 3:43am.
Ask: What areas and concerns am I holding onto too tightly? Where have I made up my mind in too rigid a manner? What areas of my life need more freedom and flexibility?

April 9th – May 3rd: Retrograde starts at 6:14pm in Taurus and moves into Aries on 4/21, ending on 5/3 at 11:33am.
Ask: Where have I allowed myself to get too comfortable? Where am I unwilling to try something new or take a risk? Where has my life become too predictable and staid?

August 12th – September 5th: Retrograde starts at 8:00pm in Virgo and moves into Leo on 9/1, ending on 9/5 at 6:29am.
Ask: Where have I allowed structures to take over content? If my closet is beautifully organized but I don’t like any of my clothes then what does that get me? Where do I need more fun and spontaneity in my plans?

December 3rd – December 22nd: Retrograde starts at 1:34am in Sagittarius, ending on 12/22 at 7:51pm.
Ask: How do I engage with places, people, and ideas that are not immediately familiar to me? Do I wear exotic experiences or unlikely friendships like badges of honor? Do I hide from anything or anyone that is new and different or do I go seeking out after adventure?

Planets

Just like the stars, planets move throughout the sky all of the time. The inner planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars) all move relatively quickly through signs and sections of the chart. The outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto) all move at a much slower rate through the various constellations and houses of the chart. Inner planets traditionally are understood to deal with every day, practical, real-life issues while outer planets are understood to work with big cycles, realizations, and patterns in our lives. First we will spend some time with some of the inner planet happenings in 2016, starting with the ever dreaded Mercury retrogrades.

Mercury, Venus, and Mars

These three inner planets move through the sky and around the zodiac relatively quickly. In 2016 we saw Mars spend an inordinate amount of time in Scorpio and Sagittarius, due to a lengthy Mars retrograde. I’m happy to report that in 2017 there is NO Mars retrograde, so for those of you who had a tough time last summer, cue that sigh of relief now.

We have already gone over the Mercury retrograde dates so now we have to turn our attention to another long retrograde period we will experience in 2017 – Venus retrograde. Here is the info on that:

March 4th – April 15th: Retrograde starts at 3:09am in Aries, moving into Pisces on 4/3, ending on 4/15 at 5:18am.
Ask: What is the role that love plays in my life? What do I love? Who do I love? Where can I love more and can I accept love from others?

 

Jupiter in Libra + Scorpio and square Pluto

For most of 2017 Jupiter is in the sign of Libra. This is excellent placement for the great planet of abundance, wisdom, and wealth. I actually have thirteen questions for you to ask when it comes to Jupiter in Libra but I am just going to give you the first one here.

September 9th 2016 – October 10th 2017: Jupiter is in the sign of Libra.
Ask: What am I married to? What are the ideas, attitudes, behaviors, and yes, people, that you are in closest alliance with? Do those alliances still make sense for you? Do the alliances work or are they not fully functioning? Jupiter is poised to breathe tons of life and energy into your closest partnerships so make sure that the partnerships you have are the ones you want and need?

There is a Jupiter Retrograde in 2017 as well.

February 6th – June 9th Jupiter is retrograde in the sign of Libra.
Ask: Where am I too invested in a relationship, partnership, or romantic experience? Where do I need to exercise more self-control?

October 10th 2017 – November 8th 2018: Jupiter is in the sign of Scorpio.
Ask: What is the blessing I can bring to my broken places right now?

Jupiter and Pluto Square Off

There are three squares between Jupiter and Pluto in 2016-17 that I want you to be aware of. A square occurs when two planets are at a 90 degree angle to each other, in this case that is Jupiter in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn. Between Autumn of 2016 and Autumn of 2017 there are three exact squares and this is the big square energy that we will feel throughout 2017.

From a mythic perspective this is a period of tension and confrontation between the Ruler of the Heavens and the Ruler of the Underworld. Pluto in Capricorn continues to blast through long-held notions of “the way that things have to be” from education and family planning to finance and politics. Jupiter, the planet of blessing and abundance can resist change if it seems like it might be painful or destabilizing – but Pluto is not to be resisted.

Ask: What change have I put off making for far too long, how can I start to make it in a way that brings more and not less blessing into my life?

Saturn in Sagittarius + Capricorn

For most of 2017 Saturn continues its journey through Sagittarius, the Archer. This is the area of our lives where we engage in creating a VISION for ourselves and the world that we live in. Freedom, philosophy (as in your philosophy of life), education, and religion all have a role to play in this relationship. Saturn, planet of Time among other things invites us to consider our relationship to each of the areas that Sagittarius speaks to.
Ask: Where in my life can greater discipline lead to truer freedom? What is one thing that I absolutely believe? Why?

On December 19th : Saturn moves into its favored sign of Capricorn.
Ask: What do I need to master most now?

Neptune in Pisces:

Neptune continues moving through the sign of Pisces, giving us plenty of deep ocean to swim around in and go diving for treasure. With the intensity of Saturn in Sagittarius and Pluto in Capricorn, and the unbridled excitement of Uranus in Aries, it is so nice to have Neptune hanging out in its most favorite sign. However, there will be a Neptune Retrograde in 2017 too.

June 17th 2017 – November 22nd 2017: Neptune Retrograde in Pisces.
Ask: What unfinished creative/dream work do I need to turn my attention to now? What unhelpful fantasy needs to be revised and made relevant?

Uranus in Aries

Uranus continues its transit through Aries for another year, it is not until 2018 when it will move into Taurus. This continues to be shake up of everything from appearances (I think the whole yoga clothes for business movement is a great expression of this transit), to the way that we enter into a room, to the way that we launch products and services, to the way that we dive into conflicts. Uranus in Aries favors and encourages risky behavior but is not always the best about picking up the pieces once the party is over.

There will be a Uranus retrograde in 2017.

August 3rd 2017 – January 1st 2018: Uranus Retrograde in Aries.
Ask: What big endeavors, projects, beginnings have I left unfinished? Where have I taken a gamble but not followed up to see how it really turned out?

Pluto in Capricorn

Capricorn works hard and Pluto goes deep so this pairing cannot help but leave an impact wherever it happens in your chart. Capricorn is often thought of as the career sector of the chart but I think of it more as craftsmanship. The difference is that for many of us career is a notion tied distinctly to our jobs, while craftsmanship is a virtue that we can apply to many areas of our lives. Pluto relentlessly tears down whatever is not working and Capricorn has the good sense to continue moving forward and refining all needed skill sets.
Ask: Why do I do the kind of work that I do?

 


Sync up with the stars

We’ve created digital calendars with all the important dates, times and events for your convenience:

download the google Calendar
download the iCalendar


 

Further Reading + Resources:

If you would like more personal one on one astrological guidance book a series of Sacred Arts Sessions for deeper exploration.
Astro.com – home of free charts galore.
The online ephemeris – any planet, any year – yes, for real.
Heidi Rose Robbins – soulful astrological readings via phone or skype
Mystic Medusa – fun astrological insights often tied to current events and pop culture
Amelia Quint – brilliant advice on tarot and astrology
The Tarot Lady – check out her specialty forecasts like the Entrepreneurcast and her fantastic FREE astro training Star School.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Purify, Protect, and Bless: How (and why) to make a Salt Jar

Ceremony and Ritual

T

he salt jar is a simple homemade sacred vessel, the purpose of which is to purify, protect and bless not only the spaces you inhabit, but also your aspirations and intentions. This is one of the illuminations we are working with in this month’s Spinning Gold coursework and I decided it would useful to share here as well.

Cleansing and blessing are two fundamental acts we find across the broad spectrum of the sacred arts; they are essential skills. The salt jar is a specific version of cleansing and blessing – one that is portable and that has a long history starting out (as did honey and sugar jars) as a special type of Jewish bowl blessing. Just as creating a sugar jar for yourself can bring sweetness into your life in accordance with the sympathetic magical traits associated with sugar, creating a salt jar can create an opportunity for purification, protection and blessing.

Salt is one of the oldest magical substances, entire books have been written about this ingredient alone. It has long been seen to have protective and preserving qualities and is used as a food preservative even today. Salt is also deeply associated with cleansing as the many cleansing and baptism rites calling for either the use of ocean water or water to which salt has been added attest to. The substance is understood to both remove and absorb negative influences or damage caused by the evil eye. As such it is also a blessing ingredient and I take this part quite literally, for without the right amount of salt in our bodies we would die.

A few years ago I began making salt jars on behalf of some of my clients, we have found them to be extremely effective at dealing with the following:

  • hitting a magical “reset” button for relationships that have been recently plagues by illness, fighting, distrust, or heavy stress
  • supporting and encouraging individuals who are breaking the chains of addictive behaviors, thoughts, actions, or emotions that keep holding them back
  • protecting and blessing new babies and families who have been blessed with new children
  • removing streaks of bad luck and difficult times
  • recovering from illness and/or trauma either chronic or acute in nature
  • cleansing an individual who is undergoing or about to undergo an initiatory experience
  • protecting pregnant women
  • protecting and blessing elderly family members
  • restoring peace to fraught relationships
  • to avert jealousy and ill wishes away from an individual and their family

 

Making the Jar

1. Choose a glass vessel. Vessels can be plain and simple as a little mason jar or elaborate as a colorful blown glass. If you use colors, be aware that traditional colors for this kind of work would be blue or red. Whatever you choose, keep in mind you will need to be able to shake it.

2. Salt – Kosher salt is recommended as it has been blessed.

3. Create a petition and place petition in jar. (See below for instructions)

4. Fill jar with salt, giving the jar a little space at the top.

5. Breathe into and the cap and seal the jar.

6. Hold it your hands. Bless it in whatever way you want.

 

Writing the Petition

You will need a pen and a piece of paper the size of a post-it note. Use whatever quality of paper you wish. Write your full legal name on paper three times. Turn the paper 90 degrees clockwise. Write the following over your name:

“May I be cleansed, purified and protected, today, yesterday and all of my days.” Finish by writing “Amen”, “May it be so” or “It is done”.

Fold paper, or roll it up and place in jar or bottle.

Other additions to the jar

There are some traditional ingredients that are often added to these jars and many of them live in your kitchen, they include:

  • Rue – the Greek word for this Mediterranean herb means “to be set free” and the leaves of the herb are shaped like little eyes. It has long been an additive in rites and ceremonies designed to address and remove negative influences caused by envy, jealousy, bitterness, and the “evil eye”.
  • Gold – a small bit of jewelry or even a broken gold chain will work just fine. Gold is added to a salt jar when one especially desires to protect their wealth and/or good fortune. It may also be added for salt jars made on behalf of expectant mothers or newborn children to ensure that they prosper in all ways.
  • Rosemary – another Mediterranean herb like rue, rosemary has long been associated with blessing and keeping the peace in a home and family.
  • Cloves – these pungent spices are worked with in numerous folk magic traditions to restore clarity and open the road for reconciliation in relationships that have been damaged.
  • Garlic – perhaps the best known protective herb, five single garlic cloves when tied together and placed into a bag or a salt jar are considered symbolic of the blessed “hand of Solomon” the wises man to have ever lived. Adding garlic ensures stronger protection and increased clarity and wisdom.
  • Sugar – for couples or families that are having a rough time I like suggesting that they make a combination sacred vessel working with both salt and sugar – the sugar keeps things and people sweet while the salt confers the benefits mentioned above.
  • Onion/wild onion – this is one of my personal favorite additions as it grows naturally where I live in both spring and autumn. Onions are worked with in both sweetening rites and as absorbing forces for harm and negativity.

Working with your salt jar

Like sugar jars, salt jars can be worked with in several different ways. Provided you use a vessel with a fireproof lid you can burn a candle on the top of the salt jar and pay attention to how the candle burns. You can use the jar much like you would a ritual rattle – shaking it rhythmically while singing or praying and also shaking it over people, places, or objects that are in need of cleansing, protection, and blessing.

Finally, for the plant people among my readers, you may have noticed that many of the additions I recommend are edible. You can indeed make a salt jar filled with delicious herbs like garlic and rosemary and then use it to season your foods. This has the extra step of allowing you to take the blessing of the salt jar directly into your body. NOTE: rue is NOT edible.

What I love best about the salt jar is what I love best about folk magic traditions world – over, the profoundly transformative is so often found in the every day – enjoy!

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

A Marriage of Abundance: How to Work with Jupiter in Libra

Divination and Dreams

S

o as some of you may know, yesterday Jupiter, THE planet of blessing, abundance, sovereignty, and wisdom moved into the sign of Libra after spending over a year in the sign of Virgo.

You do not need to know anything about your personal natal chart to start to appreciate and take advantage of the brilliance that is Jupiter in Libra. What you do need to understand is that Jupiter is a strongly felt cosmic presence – in fact, it is the only planet in our solar system that sends out more energy than it takes in, thus making the ancient affiliation between Jupiter and generosity absolutely on point.

Like all of the planets, over time, Jupiter makes its way through the entire zodiacal wheel. The last time it was in Libra was 2004 so one way to begin thinking about what this period might bring is to reflect on what you planted back then. Some astrologers take the approach that planets are more or less aligned with different signs – so there were some voices out there who felt that Jupiter in Virgo was not the best expression of Jupiter’s influence.

That has not been my experience. As I see it and experience it in my own life and the lives of my clients, each planet has both a gift and a teaching in each sign no matter what. That said, Jupiter in Libra is likely to be pretty fantastic and hopefully this mini-guide will help you come into maximum alignment with this most excellent transit.

As we have already established, Jupiter is the planet of greatest abundance and Libra, the 7th sign of the zodiac is the sign associated with marriage, partnership, love, beauty, diplomacy, harmony and balance. At the very outset we can say that Jupiter is going to energize all of these areas in our world, period. For those of you who do know your personal charts, look to see what is happening in Libra and your 7th house – that will start to give you an idea of how Jupiter will work for you.

Let’s begin with the dates:
9/9/2016 – Jupiter enters Libra 6:18am cdt

9/9 – 9/23/2016 – Venus and Jupiter are both in Libra

2/6/2017 – 6/9/2017 – Jupiter Retrograde

10/10/17 – Jupiter enters Scorpio at 8:20am cdt

These are the major dates to be aware of. There are a couple of Jupiter and Pluto squares to think about in 2017 but I will write more about those (and how to handle them) later. I specified when Jupiter and Venus are both in Libra because either planet by itself is considered highly blessed and fortunate but together the are truly a powerhouse combination – the period of their cosmic dance is a wonderful time for any work or intention setting around abundance, fertility, or romance.

As you can see from early February through early June in 2017 Jupiter will be retrograde. Typically we do not feel the retrograde motions of the outer planets as intensely as we do the inner planets like famous Mercury or even Mars or Venus. However, the retrograde motions of outer planets give us time and scope to really do a thorough review along the lines of a particular theme. Again, we will explore this in more detail closer to the actual retrograde but for now read this.

As longtime readers know, my approach to astrology is decidedly Socratic – I am not really interested in making generalized predictions, I am so much more interested in your unique understanding and relationship to the skies and stars. And the best way to get to know that relationship? Through asking and answering questions of course!

Let’s start with these

1.) What am I married to? What are the ideas, attitudes, behaviors, and yes, people, that you are in closest alliance with? Do those alliances still make sense for you? Do the alliances work or are they not fully functioning? Jupiter is poised to breathe tons of life and energy into your closest partnerships so make sure that the partnerships you have are the ones you want and need

2.) How can I be more generous in my relationships?

3.) Am I able to receive generosity? If not, why not? (Hint: think about how well and graciously you can or cannot receive a sincere compliment and that will give you the answer to the first part of this question).

4.) What do my dearest relationships need most right now?

5.) What is the role that beauty currently plays in my life?

6.) What is one thing that I can do to bring more beauty into my life starting today?

7.) Where do I most need better communication right now?

8.) Where could I benefit from more diplomacy and an ability to see a situation from many different angles?

9.) What does balance mean to me? Do I work to achieve it? If so what do I do and has it been working thus far?

10.) Remembering that harmony is actually the creative coming together of two or more tensions (as opposed to the complete absence of tension) what areas of my life could be harnessed together to create greater harmony?

11.) What does generosity in the areas of love and romance look and feel like to me?

12.) Where in my life am I seeking out deeper understanding and wisdom right now?

13.) What would Jupiter in Libra like me to focus on over the next year?

 

Now every transit, no matter how lovely, has its shadow side. Here is my list of DON’T’s for Jupiter in Libra and they apply to all.

Don’t get lost in toxic relationships of any kind – romantic, professional, creative and otherwise. If it feels like a constant one way street where you are either giving all of the time OR taking all of the time you know it is not good so get out.

Don’t engage in tons of vapid, empty-headed, socializing because you think you have to. It will leave you with actual and metaphorical hangovers.

Don’t be satisfied with the shallow. Go deeper, look harder, stretch.

Don’t say yes just to make everyone happy and avoid conflict. Say yes because you are truly pumped for something!

Don’t go on a shopping spree to soothe emotional turmoil.

Don’t spread yourself too thin. Prioritize.

Take the questions and the Don’t guidelines as springboards for yourself. Think about your own life and make this process your own. It is cosmic and vast but it is also highly relational so get into a relationship with it. Remember too that Jupiter is above and beyond everything else the Guru wise teacher – the opportunity to learn is so great this year (Libra loves being a student anyway) so show up fully and you will be rewarded.

 

 

 

 

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Eclipses are for Breaking Patterns

Divination and Dreams

E

very year we experience between four and six eclipses, solar and lunar. As I deepened my studies and practice of astrology I became more and more interested in how to understand and work with the particular energy that accompanies these celestial events and so, after years of really doing nothing more than noting how they seem to effect my own life and speaking with my clients about their eclipse experiences I am ready to say definitely that eclipses are for breaking patterns, pure and simple.

I thought this might be the case even as a young child watching the moon undergo a total eclipse when I was seven years old. As I teach my astrology students, the best way to begin getting to know the stars is through what I call “naked eye astrology” just look up at the night sky and see what your eye naturally gravitates to.

On the night of a lunar eclipse (or the day of a solar eclipse) the answer is easy – the eclipse itself is what catches our attention. It is the most visible event occurring at the given time but it is also the most dramatic because it is something apparently out of sync. We have a full moon every month, but usually the moon is not partially or completely taken over by shadow. We have the sun every day, only rarely do we see the sun darkened.

Both events naturally cause one to pause. It is a break in what are otherwise two of our most normal and rhythmic markers of both time and season – solar and lunar cycles. These are cycles that we have lived by and with for millennia, we have created watches and calendars based on their predictable patterns of movement, growth, diminishment, and re-emergence.

Then there is the eclipse. Whether it is lunar (in which case it can be seen by the population that is on the night-side of the earth) or solar (in which case it can only be seen by a small percentage of earth’s population); it is so clearly an interruption.

So what do we do with that?

First let me make a couple of further observations. My background in folk practices coming out of two different traditions tells me that an eclipse would only effect the people who actually see it because they would be the only ones who know that it is occurring. I agree with this but I will also say that in my experience the internet has made more people than ever before aware of all eclipses – whether they are visible to an individual or not. Moreover, there are now live feeds for every eclipse – so even if you are not in the part of the world where the eclipse is visible as it happens you can watch it happen live from anywhere. These two technologies have made it possible for everyone to be aware of an eclipse, watch it occur, and in turn align themselves with its particular gift if they so choose.

Secondly, it is useful for those who study and practice astrology to have a sense of where the eclipse is occurring with respect to your own chart. Many annual astrology guides will give you the exact position and time of the eclipse so you can then look at your own chart and see what kind of aspects it makes with your natal planets and positions as well as the positions the planets are in right now. I highly recommend you take this step and do this work because some eclipses absolutely will effect you more than others.

Thirdly there are two major categories of eclipse – solar and lunar – and three subcategories for each. A solar eclipse may be total, partial, or annular. A total eclipse occurs when the moon completely covers the sun. A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon only partially covers the sun – it looks like a dark shadow has taken a bit out of the sun from our perspective. And an annular solar eclipse is when the moon fully passes over the sun but is not at the right angle to be perceived as completely covering the sun so the eclipse appears as a dark shadow covering the sun but with a ring of fire all around it like a halo.

Lunar eclipses follow a similar pattern. There are total, partial, and penumbral. Total and partial are what you would expect and penumbral is a subtle lunar eclipse that occurs when the moon is shadowed by earth but not completely in any one place.

For our purposes we will just deal with the major categories of eclipse – solar and lunar.

Each kind of eclipse no doubt has its own energetic signature and while I can hazard a guess about how they would work out, I have not made as close of a study of the different kinds of eclipse up to this point. Here is what I have observed:

Lunar eclipses – they occur more frequently than solar eclipses and they are visible to greater numbers of people. The phenomena is planet earth moving in between the full moon and the sun, therefore casting a shadow over the moon that results in the complete blacking out or subtle darkening of la luna.

Traditionally the Full Moon helps us “see in the dark” its light allows us to notice the aspects of our life that are normally hidden or at the very least de-emphasized. However, the shadow side of the moon is becoming trapped in an emotional stickiness that you cannot seem to get out of no matter how hard you try. Consider the Moon card from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot to get a sense of what I am talking about. Professional astrologers often talk about the position of your natal moon as your “comfort zone” and where one feels most at home and relaxed, but as we know only staying in the comfort zone and never challenging yourself leads to some pretty dull situations and atrophy.

Therefore, the lunar eclipse is the perfect time to look at any one place where you feel particularly stuck emotionally or any place where you are just “in a rut”. The eclipse breaks the regular lunar cycle so now is your opportunity to break that pattern.

So how do you do it?

First of all, if you want to work with the eclipse and no one place of stuckness is coming to mind then consider your chart, look it over. Also consider your diet and all the things you “feed” yourself with. Chances are between those two considerations you will find something that needs a shift.

Useless patterns that run deep can feel like actual chains around you. They can hold you down, keep you back, and sometimes it is even hard to see them much less understand how to break them.

My favorite instruction on breaking a destructive pattern comes out of one of the Child Ballads. In the story a cruel mother in law has cursed her beautiful, young, daughter in law to never bear a child. The young wife and her husband try and try to get pregnant all to no avail. Finally the young wife realizes what has happened and is instructed to create a fake baby out of wax and to take it to the church to be christened. Because the curse was that the woman would never have a child in her arms, simply by showing up at the church with the child in her arms the curse was broken.

This is exactly how breaking a pattern works – you simply do the opposite. When it comes to breaking deeply entrenched patterns or attitudes playing it safe and conservatively just won’t do. You have to be all in. What is must turn into what is not just as the radiant body of sun or moon becomes shadowed and dark.

So if your pattern is that you go shopping and spend money whenever you feel sad then on the day of the eclipse if you are feeling sad you do not go spend money at all and in fact the best thing would be to do something to make money – even if it is just a buck or two.

If the pattern is an abusive relationship then on the day of the eclipse you leave that relationship. You put actual, physical distance between yourself and the abusive person. Most likely you will talk to them and see them again – but the pattern has been broken and that is what matters.

 

Solar Eclipses – occur less frequently than lunar eclipses and are only visible to a tiny portion of the world, but as I said above, they can now be viewed from anywhere thanks to live stream video. The Sun is in many ways our first timekeeper and season marker. Our days are literally marked by the passage of the sun across the sky from horizon to horizon. And of course the sun makes life possible so the importance of this “planet” (as we think of it in classical astrology) cannot be overstated.

Whereas the moon lends itself to looking at places of stuckness on an emotional and internal level, the sun is more interested is the very obvious patterns at play in our lives. What are you always saying you want to do, or will do, but just haven’t gotten around to yet? That is what the sun is interested in and that is what the solar eclipse can transform.

You can pick something to focus on but in my experience the pattern you can break during the solar eclipse shows up very powerfully. If you are at all paying attention you are already probably feeling the desire to break the cycle of habit that has become oppressive. Solar eclipses are all about less talking and more rocking. And again, you break the cycle in the same way as you do above – by either doing the thing that you are constantly saying you are going to do OR by finally admitting that you never wanted to do it in the first place and putting it down once and for all.

Not all patterns are bad. A pattern can be a very helpful thing, we all have routines that help us call ourselves back to ourselves and we all have natural rhythms to follow. When a pattern becomes oppressive it starts out as a subtle energetic drain – it is something you are always aware of in the back of your mind or corner of your eye but are not taking clear actions to address. So it just sits there, wasting your time and devouring your vitality. After it has eaten up enough of your energy, the pattern becomes much bigger and harder to contend with. It moves from being an apparently (but not really) passive force in the back of the mind to THE THING that occupies all of your attention front and center and before long it starts to feel like you are fated to do/think/feel this way forever.

Not true.

Remember the song I referenced above. This is how you break a pattern that has become a curse. You name it, get to know it just enough to break it, and then do the exact opposite of what the pattern commands and implies. The eclipses will help you, so work with them.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to Honor a Jupiter Return

Divination and Dreams

E

very 12 years Jupiter circles back to the point it occupied when you were born. This is called a Jupiter return and it ushers in an opportunity to reflect on what has gone really right, to call in support and blessing for the places you need help, and to enjoy a traditionally lucky and fortunate year.

Now there many ways of dividing time up into rhythmic cycles – some of us celebrate a completed year at the end of December and again on our Solar Return (also known as your birthday).

Some of us experience 7 year cycles, 3 year cycles, and 5 year cycles. Some measure time according to our Saturn Return which is about a 28 year cycle.

But I especially like the 12 year cycle of the Jupiter Return because 12 years is enough time to really see where your strengths are and see where your struggles are and it is the perfect time to align yourself with the blessings of this most beneficial celestial ally.

Finding Your Jupiter Return date

First you need to find out when your Jupiter Return is happening. To do this you need to do a few things:

Jupiter glyph for Jupiter Return1.) Where was Jupiter at the time of your birth? If you do not know the answer to this you will need to consult your natal chart. You can get a free natal chart here.
Note: You will need to know the time and the location of your birth to run a correct natal chart.

Once you have your chart you will look for the Jupiter glyph – it is the curvy looking 4 to your left.

2.) You will note the zodiac sign, and degree that Jupiter occurs in. The degree will be the larger number, you can ignore the smaller number for now.

3.)Moving on,  now you need to know where Jupiter is currently in the sky.

To find Jupiter you will need to work with an ephemeris – this is a log that tracks the movements of planets, asteroids, and other celestial bodies through time. The easiest ephemeris to use, in my opinion, is this one, online. Simply type in Jupiter and you can start to see where the planet is at a given date and time.

As of the writing of this article Jupiter is at 25 degrees in Virgo. On September 9th it will move into Libra.
Remember that Jupiter takes about 12 years to return to the position it occupied when you were born.

The ritual ~

This is an easy two-part ritual. Begin this a few days before your Jupiter Return actually hits). Jupiter is the planet of abundance, magnification, and also gravitas – often this planet is seen as only fun, easy, and happy go lucky but Jupiter is the reigning emperor as well as the sagacious teacher.

The first part of this review encourages us to look at some of the major life areas with Jupiter’s qualities in mind. You can do this in many different ways, but I work with a blank zodiac wheel since this is an astrology exercise. Download a blank wheel here.

For those of you working with a zodiac wheel you can divide the 12 sections might like this:

1st house: Appearance, Sense of Risk, Physical Fitness

2nd house: Cash flow, Pleasure, Skill

3rd house: Education, Learning, Friendship

4th house: Family, Home, Nourishment

5th house: Creativity, Passion, Children/Descendants

6th house: Physical/Mental/Spiritual Health, Physical Structures (including organization), Daily Practice

7th house: Partnerships, Marriage, Love

8th house: Sex, Investments and Inherited Money, Esoteric Spirituality

9th house: Teaching, Traveling, Adventure, Wisdom

10th house: Career, Competition, Mastery of a craft or skill, work ethic

11th house: Community and larger tribe, communications, big vision

12th house: Fears, Addictions, Hidden Strengths, the things left undone

 

However you look at your life, you will want to ask these three questions for each section.

1.) Over the past 12 years what has stood out the most to me about this area of life

2.) Over the past 12 years how have I been challenged in this area of life? What patterns do I see in those challenges?

3.) Over the past 12 years where have I been blessed in this area of life?

This can be an intense process so you see why I recommend that you start a few days early!

Once you have your answers in front of you, you will find that you have some very good information to work with. At this point you might want to take a ritual bath, cense yourself, go for a long walk, or just go to bed and dream.

Then when you are ready, you can create a prayer, blessing or petition to Jupiter – here is one way to do that.

Blessed Jupiter, celestial body of magnificence and great blessing, raining down good fortune, grace, depth, and wisdom on all who seek you out. Today I welcome you back to the place you occupied when you first came into my life. It has been 12 years and during that time I have been especially challenged by (fill in the blank with whatever has been especially challenging). I ask for your aid and assistance in navigating the next 12 years and coming into right relationship with these challenges.

 Great Jupiter, over the last 12 years I have also and more essentially been deeply blessed by (fill in the blank with whatever has been a great blessing in your life). I thank you for these blessings and give (fill in the blank with your thanks offering) to you as a thanks offering full of gratitude and love for all that you have bestowed and inspired.

 

At this point you will give an offering to Jupiter. You get to decide what offering you would like to make to Jupiter and how to make it.

After this the sky is the limit. You can perform a divination to look at the next 12 years or pick one theme to really drill down on. You can consecrate a Jupiter inspired talisman that you can wear, or burn a devotional candle all night long to honor the next 12 year cycle that is beginning. You might create a honey jar for yourself or work with a lodestone specifically aligned with Jupiter.

Whatever you decide, it is my deep wish that the blessings will flow. For more on how Jupiter’s upcoming transit through Libra (for over a year!) will affect you check out the Jupiter in the Balance report.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Rocking It with the Magical Lodestone

Alchemy and Magic

L

odestones, also known as magnetite, magnetized hematite, tzuh shih – which means “loving stones” in Chinese, or simply natural magnets; have been a fixture in sacred arts for thousands of years.

They are one of my personal favorite talismans to work with because a single lodestone has so much to teach us about ourselves, the way desire works, and our world.

 

History, Science, and Spirit

Lodestones are the first magnets. They are in a very real way the talismans that have taught us throughout the ages about the magnetic and then electromagnetic fields that surround all objects. A lodestone and an iron needle most likely created the first compass, an event that would, centuries later, allow us to “discover” that the earth itself is a giant magnet.

The physical properties of these stones are pretty basic. They are geologically described as magnetite and are made up of iron and oxygen with a chemical formula of Fe3O4. Hematite is an iron oxide and sometimes in rock shops you will come across “magnetized” hematite – hematite that has been artificially magnetized by running an electric current through it and usually sold in sets that have a very satisfying “click” when they come together.

Naturally occurring lodestones are mostly made of magnetite but have many other oxides and materials in them as well. How they form is still a mystery but the best guess is lightening strikes that send an electrical current through the rocks. There are places in the world that have a greater amount of lodestones as well as places that seem to have none.

The word lodestone came into use around 1500 A.D. when these natural magnets were commonly used for navigation (the word lode is old English meaning “to lead” or “to guide”). Before they were called lodestones these rocks were simply referred to as magnets. The word magnet comes down to us from the ancient Greeks – some scholars believe the stones were found frequently in Magnesia and thus the name magnet but I prefer the folk tale of the shepherd Magnus who found that the iron nails in his sandals stuck to certain rocks when he walked the fields and so discovered magnets.

We don’t know exactly when lodestones were discovered but it is a good guess that as soon as we began smelting iron around 1200 B.C. in the Western world we started working with them because we were able to observe that lodestones could attract iron. However, the ancient Chinese have the earliest traditions of working with lodestones – a thousand years earlier than those in the West did – and they worked with them for magical purposes.

These ancient Chinese magicians carved a long ladle-like spoon out of lodestone and placed it on a bronze plate at which point the spoon would magically move of its own volition with the narrow end of the spoon finally coming to point South. Some scholars think the shape of the lodestone spoon was deliberately shaped to resemble the Big Dipper, which of course contains the North Star, Polaris (also known as the “lodestar”) an essential navigation point. Though these Chinese magicians had effectively made a compass, they understood their tool to be an effective form of geomantic divination, and considering the fact that this descendants of this tool would much later give us deeply essential information about our planet, I would say they were right on the money.

Fast forwarding through a thousand years we come to the ancient Greeks. They knew about lodestones and worked with them in scientific experiments, philosophical works, and magical ritual as well. From that point on the lodestone would become a common fixture in all fields interested in comprehending and understanding invisible forces or spirits.

Before we get into the lodestone specifically, I invite you to pause and think about magnetism. It was not until 1600 with a scientific treatise called De Magnete by William Gilbert – physician to Queen Elizabeth I – that we realized the planet earth functions as a great magnet. But long before that treatise was written, ancients were observing the power of natural magnets and discovering that “something deeply hidden had to be behind things” as Einstein said after his own childhood experiments with magnets centuries later.

I suspect that this was a less a shock for our ancestors than it is for us today, for our ancient people understood natural objects to be inspirited and animate in a number of different ways. Not only were forces and spirits often unseen by the naked eye, some of the most important forces and spirits were understood to be simply invisible – why wouldn’t they dwell in rocks, rivers, trees and plants?

Lodestones were seen as special and unique because the patterns they made in iron filings or the way that they could magnetize a needle started to show the invisible tracks of the unique spirit inhabiting them, much in the way that we can find all kinds of animal tracks on a mountainside after a fresh snowfall – even though we probably won’t see the animals themselves. Magnets and the fields they create, are one of the doorways opening up to the Otherworld and lodestones are, if you like, the doorknob.

Typically today when we consider lodestones from a magical or alchemical perspective we find pretty simple advice: magnets draw things to them so work with a lodestone to draw the things to you that you want in your life. That’s not terrible advice, but it does not really help us to see what a lodestone actually is, what unique properties it possesses, and how we might come into a real relationship with it. And a real relationship is exactly what we want because lodestones are not just loving stones but living ones too.

The understanding of a lodestone as a living being has been passed down from the ancient world into our modern age relatively intact. When working with lodestones (as opposed to “using” a lodestone which we would not do just as we would not “use” a person or an animal), we handle them with care, “feed” them with iron filings, and in some traditions will even give them the occasional “drink” of fresh spring water or whisky. We also talk to them but more on that in a bit.

Of course, magnets do draw and attract and so our sympathetic magical understanding is not incorrect – we can work with lodestones to accomplish something similar. But there is more to the story. Consider this blues song from the 1930’s:

“Way down in Charleston lives old Geechie Joe
I’m going down to Charleston to dig old Geechie Joe
Got a good ol’ Geechie urge, can’t do nothin’ else but go

Got misery, misery I can’t lose
Got misery, misery, nothing but bad news
Gotta dig old Geechie Joe to voodoo these jimson blues

I gotta get back to Charleston if I walk down those railroad tracks
Gonna rub my hand on a lodestone blue as black

If Geechie Joe can’t get it, I just ain’t ever comin’ back
Geechie Joe, comin’ home, Geechie Joe”From the song “Geechie Joe” recorded by Cab Calloway in the 1930’s, written by Leon “Chu” Berry.

Obviously the writer and singer of the song were familiar with the magical properties of a lodestone but the choice to “rub his hand on a lodestone blue as black” is not merely one of wanting to draw something to himself (most likely good luck, given the context of the song), but it is also a protective act to ward off the misery that our poor songster is experiencing.

So, if attraction is only one of many magical qualities inherent and evoked by lodestones what are the others? Here is what I have found in my own practices and years of working with these talismans.

Sources of Inspiration and Potency ~

If you look up lodestone spells or rituals you will usually find that they work like this: you create a petition for whatever it is that you wish to draw to you, you give your lodestone a name (because remember, the lodestone is living), you either speak the petition aloud over the stone or your write it down and place it under the stone, and then you feed the stone with some iron filings.

If you got into the mechanics of this set up you would find that the understanding is that the lodestone creates a kind of bridge of magnetism between the petitioner and their desired object so that the object shows up in their life – hopefully in a timely manner.

But if we pay attention to the way a lodestone actually works we discover that one of its most compelling properties is not just that it is magnetic and can draw other materials to it, but that it can also confer its magnetic properties onto other materials, especially iron. In fact, this is one of the ways that lodestones were worked with through the centuries – sailors would take a lodestone, cap it on either end with iron which would become magnetized from by the lodestone’s field and then use the iron caps to magnetizing needles or nails for working compasses.

There is much to work with here. First of all, iron, described as the “blood of the earth” is a deeply magical substance. Iron is understood as protective and those who work with the substance (blacksmiths) are, throughout myth, legend, folklore, and modern history, considered the most magical of artisans due to their proximity with the metal.

And then there is the ability of the lodestone to “inspire” other objects with its spirit of magnetic force. In his short dialogue on poetry, The Ion, ancient Greek philosopher Plato described it this way:

There is a divinity moving you, like that contained in the stone which Euripides calls a magnet, but which is commonly known as the stone of Heraclea. This stone not only attracts iron rings, but also imparts to them a similar power of attracting other rings; and sometimes you may see a number of pieces of iron and rings suspended from one another so as to form quite a long chain: and all of them derive their power of suspension from the original stone. In like manner the Muse first of all inspires men herself; and from these inspired persons a chain of other persons is suspended who take the inspiration.”

Here we see a much deeper understanding of one of the core magics of the lodestone. Something (magnetic force) moves within it and lends itself to other objects just as something can move within us, allowing us to inspire and in turn be inspired.

Magically speaking at the very least this means that when you work to attract something to you vis a vis a lodestone and that object comes, you would be well served by ritually understanding that this new object is now magnetized as the lodestone is and can be worked with as such.

So for instance, if I work with a lodestone to draw a rare and expensive book to me, and the rare book does arrive at a price I can afford, I can now see that book as functioning as its own kind of lodestone – it has become an inspired and inspirited object itself and I might work with it to draw other objects. Obviously this leads to a consideration of what you are trying to draw into your life – are the things you desire really inspiring? Do they help you in turn inspire others?

Going deeper into this first point, I would suggest that more than thinking of your lodestone as a kind of magnetic bridge, you can see yourself as a lodestone. This isn’t really that weird or far out. You do have an electro-magnetic field around you after all. Here are the steps I recommend for this ritual approach:

  • Become aware of what you tend to attract for example do you draw bad luck or good, do you attract kind people or those who are cruel? Consider what the patterns are without judging, just observe.
  • Define True North. For physical magnets this field is already determined but you are a magical magnet so you get to decide. What is your True North? Why do you do what do you? What are you really after? What really matters the most? (Those of you who are my Spinning Gold students will recognize these questions in the North Star Rite we learn). I like to phrase the understanding of one’s personal True North in this way:

“As a magnet is turned to the North, I am turned to (fill in the blank with your True North).”

  • Re-orient yourself. Once you know what your True North is, bring it into your life in some concrete way. I would recommend honoring it in your daily practice.
  • Call in your allies. Now you are a lodestone, pointed to your True North, and able to attract the things, opportunities, and situations you need to allow you to do whatever it is that you wish to do. You can still have a physical lodestone present – I do, but it will begin to function less as an active magnet and more as a reflective mirror.

This is the petition I use when working in this manner:

“As a magnet is turned to the North, I am turned to (fill in the blank with your True North)…And as a magnet can draw iron to it, I now call and draw upon (fill in the blank with whatever it is you would like to call to your side).”

 

So let’s say that you need a car in order to get to work. Spend some time with the first step and consider what your experience with cars has been up until this point in your life.

Learn from this.

For instance, if cars break as soon as you buy them and you do not know how to repair them and don’t have a lot of money to spend on repairs maybe you do not need a car at all, maybe you need a good bicycle.

Then state your True North in this situation. It might look like this:

“As a magnet is turned to the North, I am turned to the ability to continue advancing in my job and bringing in enough money to take care of my family.”

With a True North statement like that, there are many things you can do to support your focus – I would probably recommend incorporating a personal blessing into your daily practice so that you are blessed with abundance on the job site and off.

Then put it all together like so:

“As a magnet is turned to the North, I am turned to the ability to continue advancing in my job and bringing in enough money to take care of my family. And as a magnet can draw iron to it, I now call and draw upon a dependable, affordable, new vehicle that can carry me safely to that job and back home again.”

At this point if you have a physical lodestone you can sprinkle it with some magnetic sand, if you do not then take a good long drink of fresh spring water and go on with your day. When the dependable and affordable new car arrives remember magnetic transference – now it too is like a lodestone and can inspire others through its presence.

Coercive and Compelling ~

For the ancients and modern scientists alike, one of the most fascinating aspects of lodestones is that they are not only naturally occurring magnets; they are naturally occurring permanent magnets. When it comes to magnetism there are two unique qualities that we consider. The first is saturation, this basically measures how strong a magnet is, how saturated the material is with magnetism. Typically lodestones have small saturation points – they are not going to win prizes for their ability to pick up big chunks of metal.

The second quality is coercion and this is where lodestones shine because they are highly coercive magnets. A coercive magnet is very difficult to de-magnetize. The more coercive a magnet is the greater a magnetic field moving in the opposite direction must be in order to make the magnet lose its magnetism. This means that lodestones make ideal permanent or long lasting magnets.

In magical practices folks often make the mistake of thinking that their lodestone is “dead” when it no longer exerts much magnetic pull – for instance, when a lot of the iron filings fall off the rock. (Typically they will stand up straight on the stone like little bits of hair). But in reality one may have a lodestone with a pretty weak saturation point that still has a high amount of coercion and can magnetize other objects. A good way to test is to place an iron nail on your lodestone and see if the nail becomes magnetic. Likewise, those who test their lodestones by seeing how much material the lodestone can lift are missing the point, the nature of the lodestone is not one of saturation but coercion, or, as I like to think of it, lodestones are more concerned with quality over quantity.

While the technically coercive nature of lodestones is a relatively new discovery, the stones themselves have been understood to have a compelling quality for a long time and put to use in all kinds of ceremonies where one object, situation, or individual was to be compelled towards another. In my experience the coercive nature of the stone makes it ideal for accomplishing multi-layered goals.

For this process you can work with an actual physical lodestone or you can work with yourself as a lodestone as we saw above. The idea is relatively simple. You’ll take a large goal and break it down into component parts. To use our example above, let’s say that you need a new car to get safely to and from work. You could break this down like so:

Goal #1: Save up enough money to make a down payment on the car.

Goal #2: Come into contact with a legitimate and fair car dealer.

Goal #3: Have a clean credit check and a dealership willing to give you good terms.

Goal #4: Purchase the car in an easy and effortless manner.

Begin by writing your first petition for goal #1. Given the nature of our example you could even break goal #1 down into further bits and pieces – maybe you need to get a promotion in order to save up that money or perhaps someone who owes you will deliver on their debt – you see how this can go forward.

Once the first goal has been accomplished turn your attention to the next. This time when you are working on goal #2 you have the coercion of the lodestone and you have the coercion of the first accomplished goal – your iron rings are starting to connect.

Besides general attraction work, lodestones are often called on to bring lovers closer together. 11th century devoted Muslim and Islamic scholar Ibn Hazm understood this quite well:

“My eyes find nowhere else to look but at you,

Like what happens with the lodestone (and the pieces of iron)

Changing direction to right and left in accordance with where you are.” – Ibn Hazm from his love poem Ring of the Dove

Sometimes lodestones are sold in matched pairs to facilitate workings for love and romance. The stones might be gently nudged towards each other over a number of days as the would be lovers also come together, or they might be placed in a sacred vessel like a medicine bag or prayer bowl to encourage fidelity and blessing in a relationship. Both are lovely methods but again the specifically coercive nature of the lodestone is overlooked.

For instance, one could take a lodestone, dedicate it to a blessed union, take two iron nails or pins, place them on the lodestone, and then draw those pieces together allowing them to finally come to “rest” on the lodestone which is the physical equivalent of keeping a steady flow of loving energy and attraction flowing through the channel of the relationship.

Navigation Tool ~

“For what is more strange than this stone? In what field has Nature displayed a more perverse willfulness? She has given to rocks a voice, which as I have explained, echoes that of Man or rather, interrupts it as well. What is more impassive than the stiffness of stone? And yet, we see that she has endowed the magnet with both senses and hands.” – Pliny, Natural History

The nature of lodestones is one of direction and way marking; they are the stones above all that you want to have with you when you go on any kind of a pilgrimage. And yet, when people do work with them they are often left up on a shelf to collect dirt and dust and not really related to. Pliny was right to recognize that underneath the apparent stiffness and impassivity of the stone there are “senses” and “hands” both qualities that help us find our way. The only thing that is required is a slightly different relationship to the stone itself; I’d recommend that we stop looking at it as another tool and instead start seeing it as the natural talisman that it really is.

And, as is the case with all talismans, there are certain things that a talisman has a natural resonance to and others that it does not. So it is for any lodestone. If you are working with one in any capacity and not getting the results you desire consider what it is that you are after and before burying the stone or giving it away, ask if the stone is perhaps leading you in a different and more useful direction? Remember, they were the first compasses.

As a final note, lodestones are most usually worked with to gain some kind of material good. But as I have noted elsewhere, all magic has an inner and outer component. This means that you can work with your lodestone to gain a new car but you can also work with your lodestone to gain more clarity in your divinations or dreams. You can judge which will be most useful to you in the long run.

The Basics of Working with your lodestone

Keeping all of the above in mind here is how you can begin working with your lodestone.

  • Get a lodestone. You can purchase them from spiritual supply shops or from geological and mining supply companies. Or you can find one! Check not so much for magnetic saturation but magnetic coerciveness.
  • Ask your lodestone what it would like to be called.
  • Ask your lodestone how often it would like to be fed.
  • Ask your lodestone if it would like to receive a drink and if so, what kind and how often.
  • Ask your lodestone if there is anything else you should know as you begin working with it.
  • As you work with your lodestone remember not to declare it dead if its magnetic pull seems to weaken, check its level of coercion.
  • If your lodestone does seem dead then tradition indicates burial to be the most respectful manner of disposal.
  • Decide (hopefully with your lodestone) on a work rhythm. For instance, I remove all magnetic sand from my stone, wash it down with water, cense and oil it, once a month on the New Moon.

Keep learning from your lodestone and discovering new ways of working with it. Magnetism is a very old magic that we are still just starting to understand, and these little humble rocks have much to teach.

 

Sources for this article include:
Livingston, James D. Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets. (Cambridge: Harvard UP 1996.)

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.