Cultivating Calmness ~ My Favorite Sacred Arts Practice + Aural Magic

Foundations

I

t is common in the world of self-development and spirituality to be told to “look into” or “feel into” a specific idea, situation, question, or journaling prompt. And if you are anything like me you might have wondered more than once, how exactly do I do that? I have an answer for you; it is one of my favorite practices: Cultivating Calmness.

Cultivating Calmness is not meditation. Much time spent studying various Eastern traditions with a focus on Hinduism and Buddhism, learning some rudimentary Sanskrit, and gaining my masters degree in Eastern Classics has given me the confidence to say that eastern style and influenced meditation practices are typically about emptying out…the noise, the chatter, the illusions we all carry about.

Cultivating Calmness teaches us to open up. Click to Tweet

So while Cultivating Calmness can be paired with many other meditative and contemplative practices, it is also something that can stand-alone by itself.

This practice is rooted in personal experience but it is also rooted in faerie tales and folklore. There is often a claim that the indigenous people of Europe and the Mediterranean as well as the Americas – the so-called Western World – did not have developed practices for contemplation and meditation. But when we look at the folktales and faerie tales that emerge from these various cultures we see that they most certainly did; they just looked different than what we are used to today.

What I noticed in the stories was that Otherworldly experiences occurred, great boons were gifted, and deep insights discovered, while people went about their rote, daily chores, like washing dirty clothes down at the river and then hanging them to dry, or taking a walk through the wild wood, or gathering corn for a feast or going out to hunt. What struck me most was that the activities described were common enough that one would get into “the zone” while doing them, that is, settle into themselves and let their minds contemplate and their hearts feel into whatever they were most concerned with at the time.

These observations came together for me a few years back right after I had my baby boy. As a brand new mom I myself was doing a lot of laundry and other rote chores and noticed that during these occasions I received inspiration after inspiration along with clear knowledge about how to put my findings into practical action.

At the time of my child’s birth I was running a business, working with hundreds of clients, and did not have time to formally meditate. I realized that the routine industry that was such a part of many of my ancestors’ lives – because they were working people and always busy – could cover them in a kind of calmness that allowed them to truly open up to whatever concerns, observations, or sensations they had been carrying around with them.

Knowing that in today’s world most of us are not going to spend all day doing routine domestic chores, I distilled the essence of what I saw occurring and created the practice of Cultivating Calmness.

The assumption that I made when developing this practice is that we have worlds within us that carry deep teaching and good medicine and that we can access easily if we will take the time and make the space to do so. Cultivating Calmness is the practice that begins that process for me and for my students. Do it once a day or several times a day and open up.

Cultivating Calmness, practice one ~ The Door

Sit, stand, or lie down in a comfortable position and focus on your breathing for a few breaths-usually anywhere from 10-20 breaths so that your in-breath is equal in measure to your out-breath.

Gently allow your eyes to drift closed and see, sense, touch, and feel, a door frame in front you opening out into nothing but darkness.

With each in breath bring this doorway and the darkness beyond it closer and closer to you-you do not move to it, it comes to you.

Go through the doorway into the darkness. All is calm. All is quiet.

Cultivating Calmness, practice two ~ The Breath

Feel your own breath—in and out, in and out.

Simply breathe regularly and allow your breath to gradually slow down.

Begin to notice the space between the in and out breath. Allow that space to grow until it surrounds you. All is calm. All is quiet.

Cultivating Calmness, practice three ~ The Tortoise

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel, that you are like a great tortoise. Your two arms and two legs protrude from your large shell, your head too emerges so that you might feel the breeze and see the stars.

Affirm your desire to cultivate calmness.

Slowly and with care draw your right leg into your shell and with it your sense of outward touch so that you might have inward sensation.

Draw your left leg into your cavern-like shell and with it your sense of outward taste so that you have inward savoring.

Draw your right arm into your deep body and with it your sense of outward hearing so that you may have inward listening.

Likewise draw your left arm into the center and with it your outward seeing so that you may have inward vision.

Finally draw your head into your great shell and with it your outward thoughts so that you may have inward wisdom.

All is calm. All is quiet.

(*This last active imagining is my gloss on an image given by Lord Krishna to his dear friend Arjuna in the Hindu holy scripture, The Bhagavad-Gita).

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Prayer for Real Peace ~ New Moon in Capricorn

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

As the new moon in Capricorn the last new moon of 2016 unfolds her ebony robes upon Thursday 12/29, many of us may find that we are still surrounded by the holiday hustle-and-bustle.  Even so, we don’t have to let that stop us from opening up the brightest gift at the end of the year the still threshold that forms in the last days of one year and the first days of the next. During this time it is common to hear a plea, a prayer or a request that arms or weapons of all kinds be placed down, that sharp-edged weaponized words be gentled and turned to better uses, and peace be invoked.

And yet, when we make entreaties for Peace, what is it really that we are speaking of? What are we calling forth? Here is my prayer for myself and for all of us seeking to answer that question and call forth a deeper, truer, peace in our lives and communities.

Prayer for Real Peace

By the heavens above and by the earth below today we come seeking peace.

But our prayer is not a prayer for what some call peace that softly whispers look away, look away…

Our prayer is not for the peace that lies and hides and pretends things are otherwise than they are.

No, our prayer is for real peace, made in the knowing of what real peace, true peace is.

Peace that is fierce enough to make all bloodthirsty war-makers know fear, as they tremble in the knowing that in the end, they lose.

Peace that is vast enough to cover all lands, all people, all places even and especially the ones most broken.

Peace that is wild enough to speak to the lion.

Peace that is steady enough to call to the lamb.

Peace that is strong enough to lift up even the weakest.

Peace that is bright enough to illuminate that largest shadows and show what they truly hold.

Peace that is profound enough that all might remember it.

Peace that is radical enough that it scoffs at the notion of “sides”.

Peace that endures through it all and can be found as a shining thread running through all stories, all faiths, all religions and mystical traditions, all families, all singular lives no matter how ensnared they may be at a given moment, no matter how damaged or beyond redemption they may seem, we may seem, you may seem.

Our prayer is for peace and we make our prayer by seeking this peace out, in all the ways and by all the means that we can, for our selves and for one another, this day and every day, and may it be so, Amen.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Capricorn the Sea Goat

Divination and Dreams

W

inter Solstice is nigh and it is time to both dive deep and ascend the mountain with the one and only Capricorn, sometimes mistaken as a goat only but in reality a brilliant Sea Goat!

Capricorn is the 10th sign in the zodiacal wheel, attuned to the element of Earth, and is a cardinal sign ruled by Saturn. The Sun is in Capricorn from December 21st (Winter Solstice) through January 19th. Cardinal signs always represent leadership and the purest expression of certain virtues; for Capricorn and all of the Earth signs this is symbolized by its arrival in the depths of Winter (in the Northern hemisphere) and Summer (in the Southern).

 

CapricornSea Goat as Animal by: Sara Magnuson

What in the world is a Sea-Goat?! A mythical creature, like the Centaur we discussed in Sagittarius, the Sea-Goat is a combination of two very real animals Goat and Fish and we will visit the lives of both creatures as we continue with Capricorn. The combination of Goat and Fish initially speaks to us about adeptness on land and in water. The Sea-Goat will also show us its intelligence and ways of mischief, confidence, and creation.

Let’s begin on the land, with Goat. Closely related to Sheep, Goat is one of the oldest domesticated animals. They are herbivores, ruminant animals with a four-chambered stomach, and both sexes typically have two horns of varying sizes. Goat has excellent vision with the ability to detect a range of colors, levels of light and dark, and fantastic night vision. With eyes on either side of their head, they have a large field of view, but what stands out most about Goat’s eyes are their horizontal pupils. This makes their eyes look totally crazy to us, but many animals have pupils like this sheep, horse, octopus, and toad for example. The difference is that Goats often have light colored eyes, so the shape of the pupil stands out more than, say, the dark eyes of Horse. The advantage of horizontal pupils adds many degrees to their field of view and, as prey animals, they need to be able to see as much as possible.

As we perceive Goats, however, their crazy looking eyes often bring forth a negative connotation, but that isn’t the case at all. What seems to others as something weird and different and possibly bad actually serves a great purpose for Goat and its survival. Goat goes about its business not caring that it looks all crazy because what it has going for it is working. As Capricorn, this exemplifies the ways you may appear to others that aren’t necessarily true and asks you to listen to the inner part of yourself that doesn’t care what other people think.

There is a myth that Goats will eat anything and everything, which is plainly false. Goat is not a grazer as many think, but rather a forager and browser. They are extraordinarily curious creatures and, since they don’t have hands, they touch” things with their lips. It may appear that Goat is eating a box or a tin can, but it’s really just checking it out like a baby that puts everything in its mouth to not only feel it, but to taste and smell it, feel its texture. As far as what they actually eat, it turns out they are quite picky, preferring woody bits from specific vines, shrubs, and low-growing trees.

The agile curiosity of Goat gives Capricorn an ability to explore without fear. Curiosity outweighs guidelines and rules every time in the world of Goat. This adventurous nature means that Capricorn can do things that others don’t expect you to be able to do and your unseen talents can give an advantage in many situations.

The world of Goat is ruled by the seasons and their time of breeding is determined by the length of daylight. Most Goats breed in the Spring and Summer, but in equatorial areas, where there are long and consistent hours of daylight, they can breed year round. Male Goats are called bucks, females are called does, and both exhibit distinct behaviors when it’s breeding season. The does wag their tails constantly and stay near the bucks, while the males will curl their lips and show an obsessive interest in the females. Births are almost always twins and the mother often eats the placenta afterwards. For Goat, and many animals, this is an instinct that avoids attracting predators with the scent of birth and provides much needed nutrients after all the energy expended.

The sexual and birthing behaviors of Goat bring out the creator aspect of Capricorn. For the Sea-Goat, creating is a sensual experience felt with the mind, body, and emotions. This inclination means you can become obsessive in romance and in things/projects you love. Be mindful of how much you are trying to control or how much energy you are expending. As Goat’s breeding season is related to the duration of light, so does Capricorn work best in the liminal times and spaces, like the winter solstice it begins with.

Lastly, we must acknowledge Goat’s long relationship with humans and the impact we have had on each other. Evidence suggests that Goats were domesticated over 9000 years ago and they also have a fairly long lifespan (up to 18 years). This means that Goat’s connection with humans has evolved over millennia of generations; so much so that domesticated Goats will seek out a human when faced with a problem they cannot solve, much as a Dog would do. Goats are loosely-based herd animals, in that they prefer the company of other creatures.

When out on their own, however (and much like humans), they tend to act more independently of each other and only stay close enough to communicate danger. To most peoples of the world, Goat is seen as a renewable resource. They are used to clear land of weeds and undergrowth; as farm labor to pull things; as a sacrifice to Gods and Spirits; as a source of meat, milk, hair, hide, and horns; even their dung, bones, and muscle sinew have been used throughout history for fuel, tools, and clothing, respectively. Every part of Goat is used for something and in this way it is seen as a clean” animal in many cultures and religions. Although there is a deep and strong relationship with humans, Goat’s curiosity is constantly calling back to its wild nature. Goat is one of few domesticated animals that, if given the chance, will easily revert to a feral life.

The relationship between Goat and people evokes its mysterious nature. The Sea-Goat is smart, can follow directions, and make decisions based on witnessed or personal experience, while also maintaining a wild, instinctual, freedom-oriented attitude.

We cannot end our discussion here without, of course, addressing Fish, the other half of Capricorn. It is the tail part of the Sea-Goat that is represented by Fish and speaks to the part of Capricorn that is adept in the realm of emotions and undercurrents.

First of all, what is a Fish? In the most basic sense, they are animals that live in the water, have gills, a skull, and lack limbs with digits (fingers and toes). We’ll talk about Fish in much more detail when we get to Pisces, but for now let’s talk tails. The sole purpose of a Fish’s tail is to help it swim. It is an appendage that has become uniquely adapted to its life in the realm of water, providing propulsion, mobility, and directionality.

Fish as the tail portion of the Sea-Goat reminds us of the relationship between water and earth and is what keeps Capricorn from getting swept away by its curiosity. The tail provides the power needed not only to move in a particular direction, but in a purposeful way. There is also a sexual aspect to water, as it arouses the idea of creativity and reminds us that life formed from water and earth. Water can be tamed and fenced in, but can also eventually overpower and go where it wants to go. Thus Capricorn is not about aggression, but rather diligence, being unrelenting, pushing at the edges until it breaks way.

The tail of Capricorn in the water speaks about our base, our history, where we come from. In melding with Goat on the land, Capricorn represents the evolution of imagination, practical desire, and ingenuity from the primordial waters to the vibrant, leaping terrain.

 

CapricornSea Goat as Capricorn by: Briana Saussy

Represented by the Sea Goat a mythic creature depicted as having the torso and upper body of a goat and from the waist down the tail of a fish Capricorn borrows its iconic form from very old Gods with very old stories, appropriate for the sign that is ruled by Saturn also known as the Lord of Time.

Unlike other modern star signs, the tale of Capricorn begins not in Ancient Greece but much earlier in the Middle Bronze age. Although it is one of the smallest and dimmest constellations it has been consistently observed and honored throughout the Middle East and it was only later that its lore and significance moved into Greece and after that Rome. We know this in part because this sign was recorded in the Babylonian star catalogues as the goat fish” before 1000 BCE in connection with the great Sumerian God Enki, known as Ea in Babylon.

Enki is the God who brought magic, culture, art, healing, and fertility to all of the land and was likened to a rushing river or spring gushing out from the earth both images that researchers believe speak to his sexual virility and procreative instincts. As a major God, Enki had many symbols and images attached to his name but one of the oldest is the half goat and half fish symbol that has long been associated with Capricorn.

In this, Capricorn mirrors the sign before it, Sagittarius, where the two animals that are fused together are man and horse in the form of the Centaur. There is a mystery to this oldest of old fusion of goat and fish that scholars and experts in the fields of ancient Sumer and Babylon still do not fully understand. The best guess is that the goat and fish are both animals that have long been associated with sexuality, fertility, and mystery.

Let’s pause here and take stock of some of the themes we see emerging already in the earliest stories of this sign. As noted, there is an ancient quality to Capricorn and often people who have a strong Capricorn presence in their chart are described as old souls.” At the very least Capricorns often look older than they really are (especially as children) and they have a mature presence from an earlier point in their lives. Because it is Saturn-ruled (Chronos in the Greek stories), Capricorn is very aware of the passing of time. This awareness can lead to intense pressure to do/be more especially in the areas of work and career but/and what it is really focused on is legacy-building; Capricorn speaks to the part of us that wants to create something that can last through time.

Although some astrologers incorrectly identify Capricorn as only a goat instead of a sea goat, or present it as though one has a choice: to be a goat or a sea goat, the mythic tales surrounding the zodiac sign are very clear that Capricorn has always been the sea goat. This mysterious symbol and fusion of two unlikely animals speaks to another essential aspect of Capricorn: what you see on the surface is often not the best indication of what is going on inside. The inner life of Capricorn (like the inner life of all of the Earth signs) is often more vivid, dreamlike, and magical than their outer, practically directed actions would let on.

The most well-known attributes of Capricorn deal with its ability to go through struggle or competition and come out a winner, endure through tough times, and find incredible success in their work and professional lives; to understand where these qualities come from we need to learn the stories from a different set of characters.

Turning to the Greek version of the tale, it is like most of our star stories, one born out of immortal struggle. In this case the struggle is between a great beast known as Typhon and the God Pan. Typhon was a monster born from the union of Gaia (Earth) and Tartarus (the Underworld) according to Hesiod. Later tales claim that Typhon was born from Hera as a result of a rage she felt towards Zeus when he gave birth to Athena by himself. Both versions agree that Typhon was a creature born to wreak havoc on the younger Olympian Gods with a specific eye towards destroying Zeus. Typhon’s birth therefore can be interpreted as the vengeance of Chronos, Father Time, who devoured all of his children but Zeus and was later overthrown by his lone surviving son.

Typhon is described in ancient sources as having the body of a man but having hundreds of snakes emerging from his head and in some cases his thighs and/or feet as well. The snakes were all poisonous vipers, of course, who not only could kill by striking but actually spit their venom out onto their victims. Typhon was said to be able to breathe fire and also possess wings that allowed for flight. He was incredibly strong and powerful and had God-like powers over various elements.

As the story goes, Typhon challenged Zeus for power over the entire Cosmos and the struggle was epic. During that struggle Zeus enlisted the aid of the God Pan to play his panpipes (or in some versions have one of his devotees play his pipes) and lull Typhon to calmness. Pan did this and Typhon was so pleased that he offered Pan any Goddess he might want (besides Hera) for a wife. Pan tricked Typhon into returning the leg sinews he had taken from Zeus (thus crippling the God) by telling him that he would play even sweeter music on the lyre if only he could string it with said sinews. Once Typhon brought the sinews to Pan, Pan gave them back to Zeus, restoring him to health and allowing Zeus to ultimately defeat Typhon. In a rage Typhon attacked Pan who was able to transform the lower half of his body into a fish and swim away from the ravening beast, becoming the constellation Capricorn as he did so.

In the Greek story we see the elements of struggle, competition, and victory that are so commonly attributed to this sign. While the struggle for Capricorn is often described as one of getting ahead,” looking at the tale we see something different: the struggle is against a foe that would bring death and destruction to the entire natural world; the struggle is against a chaotic disorder. Capricorn is willing to engage in struggle and competition, with Saturn/Chronos as their ruling planet they have no expectations that things are going to be easy but that they have to work for whatever it is that they want. The loss and then return of Zeus’ leg ligaments is interesting because Capricorn has long been associated with the legs and specifically knees of the physical body with the mythic understanding that they utilize this part of the body to climb up their proverbial mountain.

Goats stand their ground, they do not go with the herd nearly as easily as say, sheep, they are notorious for being stubborn, and they are decidedly masculine in mythic representation. Goats are also one of the first animals that humans domesticated and yet they will revert back to a feral state more easily and quickly than any other modern domesticated animal this may be where the wild attributes that are given to goats and the goat-god Pan come from.

Fish, on the other hand are mysterious, dwelling in a world apart from our own, they are most often aligned with the feminine, and stories from ancient India to Wales give fishes a starring role when it comes to acquiring wisdom. The goat fish combination we see with Capricorn gives tell to the signs ability to win victories in unexpected and unpredictable ways, to transcend by bringing the most unlikely parts of themselves together in unison. The goatfish is Capricorn as the wise visionary who sees far beyond and ahead what is usually expected; it is the brilliant strategist who knows not just how to win but why winning matters.

Finally, Capricorn is the sign of the craftsman, it is the sign to call on wherever and whenever there is a need for mastery. Where is this depicted in the story? Think back to the way that Pan captured Typhon in the first place. He did so by applying his craft (music) in a most excellent way. Pan’s playing was so beautiful and entrancing that it stopped a force of chaos, disorder, and destruction right in its tracks. This gives us a final clue about the mystery of Capricorn: while struggle and competition are part of the story, the ultimate win comes from doing one’s work and calling upon one’s talent to create beauty and mastery that in turn lead to success.

 

Call on Capricorn When:

  • You want more mature, wise, insight into a situation.
  • You are working with the theme of legacy: what you will do now that outlasts you once you have died.
  • You need to focus on your career or professional path, including finding the right job and excelling in your profession.
  • You are looking to gain mastery in a specific area.
  • You need to develop a solid strategy for dealing with a difficult situation/person.
  • You are entering into any kind of competition from sports to business to affairs of the heart.
  • You want to win.
  • You need to be 10-20 steps ahead of your competitors for a given project.
  • You are ready to get real and deal with reality.
  • You need to be able to keep going and endure through a difficult time.
  • You want more solid structure and organization.
  • You are ready to ascend to the heights of the mountain and dive into the depths of the sea.

 

Be Wary Of:

  • Bossiness – From one cardinal sign to another let’s just put it out there Capricorn can be bossy and dominating AND intimidating.
  • Being a hammer When all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. The Capricorn version of this is that everything can start to look like a struggle, everything can start to look harder and difficult even when its really not.
  • Being too competitive When Capricorn’s competitive nature gets in the way of the ability to collaborate; when MY win becomes more important than OUR win, then it is time to reassess.
  • Being under pressure Saturn-ruled Capricorn brings intensity to any situation but most especially to themselves, often putting themselves under immense pressure and usually more than is needed.
  • Work-a-holism Work is a way of life for Capricorn and a Cappy who has work they love is happy; but it is very easy for this sign to work, work, and work some more and forget to have fun and play.

 

Questions to Ponder for Capricorn:

  • What ancient wisdom do I have immediate and natural access to?
  • What am I competing for?
  • What signifies victory to me?
  • Where in my life am I most seeking excellence and mastery?
  • What would happen if I struggled less?
  • What domesticated part of me would like to be wild once more?
  • What wild part of me needs a bit more domestication?
  • What am I willing to make time for?
  • What legacy am I creating?

 

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 base of a great mountain. 
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 Sea Goat.
Acknowledge that it does not matter where Capricorn 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 up at the great peak before you.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that a path of ascent has been illuminated for you and at the pinnacle of the peak is a dim but intense glow. This glow comes from the small but mighty constellation of Capricorn, which waits for you at the top of the peak. If you are ready to learn what it has to teach then begin your ascent. Climb up.
Climb up. Climb up. Climb up.
You are ascending higher now and the air grows cooler and thinner and so you continue to climb.
Climb up. Climb up. Climb up.
At this point your legs and arms begin to tremble with effort and your knees are sore. And still, the glow is brighter now and the peak is within your grasp so you continue your ascent.
Climb up. Climb up. Climb up.
Up, higher and higher until you reach the peak of the mountain.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that you are now standing directly underneath the starry constellation and it covers the mountain top in a soft light. Standing up here, acknowledge that the wind is cold but your vision is sharper and you can see the lay of the land.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that the lay of the land you look upon has a special message to give you regarding your legacy, the work you have created and are creating that will last once you have gone.
Witness what there is, listen and feel into what there could yet be.
As you are ready, turn around so that you are looking over the opposite side of the peak. See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel a soft steam rising up from its crevices. Approach the steam and as you do affirm and acknowledge that you have actually found a hidden hot spring, one that would feel so good and soothing to your sore and tired muscles.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that there is a figure within the spring, one that at first appears to be a goat but, that, right underneath the bubbling waters has the opalescent fins of a fish. This guardian of Capricorn holds out a cornucopia to you filled with the sweetest fruits and savories.
Affirm and acknowledge that these gifts are here for you, partake in them and as you do so ask what they tell you of your legacy.
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 Capricorn was to and for you.
Now, choose three PRACTICAL actions to bring that teaching fully into your life here and now.

Altar and Ritual:

In this series, Animalia Stellarum, the active imagination journey/meditation and the altar/ritual work are not usually dependent on each other; that is, you could do one, or the other, or both, and in any order. For Capricorn, however, I advise that you do the above active imagination journey before beginning this altar and ritual work.

{You will need: 3 pieces of paper, a pen, a white candle, a small bowl of water, a small bowl of earth/dirt; optional oils and herbs}

Visit with the Sea Goat first (see above).

Note what teachings Capricorn has for you.

Choose three practical actions to bring that teaching fully into your life here and now.

Immediately following this meditation, go bathe yourself. It can be a stand-up shower or a sit-down bath; whatever you prefer. You don’t need any special washes or ingredients. Just bathe yourself as you normally would.

As the steam fills the room and you feel the water on your skin, close your eyes and remember your visit with the Sea Goat. Imagine that you are in the same beautiful hot spring, bathing in its splendor. Reflect on all that you learned there. When you are done, dry off like you normally would and put on clean clothing.

Next, get three pieces of paper, whatever kind feels right to you. On each paper write down one of the practical actions you arrived at from the active imagination journey. Fold up each paper until you can’t fold it any more. If you use anointing oils or powders, now would be the time to dab each paper with the appropriate mixture. You can also fold herbs that support your goal into the center of each paper, creating a packet.

At your altar or sacred space, place a bowl of water, a bowl of earth/dirt, and a white candle. Arrange them however you see fit. Light the white candle and place the three folded papers around it. Close your eyes and remember your visit with Sea Goat. Honor its presence in your life and focus on achieving the three practical actions. Ask Sea Goat to help you see the way.

Take as long as you need. You can sit with the candle or you can leave when you feel ready, but let the candle burn completely. If you leave the candle alone, please observe common sense fire safety. After the candle has burned down, collect the papers, the bowls of earth and water, and any remnants of the candle. Wrap them in a cloth, put them in a box, but keep them all together.

As soon as you are able to after doing this altar work, bring the items from your altar and go to a place where the water meets the land. It should also be a body of water that is safe to step into. The ocean, a lake, a river, a creek, or a small stream.

Holding the items from your altar, sit on the edge or wade in a bit as you feel comfortable, not going deeper than your thighs. If it is absolutely impossible for you to get to a clean, natural body of water, go to a pool or fill your bathtub and sit on the edge with just your feet/legs in the water.

Make sure that you are comfortable. Make sure you feel stable standing in the water or sitting at its edge.

Feel your feet in the water and think about the ancient wisdom accessible to you through these currents. Think about where this water came from and where it may go next, creating life all along the way. (Even the water from a pool or bathtub has come from someplace and will flow to another.)

Feel your torso in the air or your rear end sitting on the surface, grounded by the land. Feel your connection to the sky, the mountains, and all that exists above the water.

Allow the soft and gentle movements of the water to ripple through your body. Allow the vibrations of the water to transform as they pass through your core and move up and out of your arms, hands, and head onto the land.

Focus on your three practical actions and allow the currents of water and land to become one within your spirit. When you feel ready, release the items from your altar into the water* pour out the bowls of water and earth, let the papers float away, watch the candle remnants drift toward the bottom.

*if you have completed this water/land ritual at the edge of a pool or bathtub, take the items from your altar outside and bury them in the ground, just as you would let them go in the water.

Offer your deepest gratitude to the Spirit of the Sea Goat and head home feeling invigorated and inspired. Over the next several days or weeks, note your progress on the practical actions you set forth in this ritual.

About My Co-Author:

Sara 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.

 

Save

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The First Magic, Creator of Space

Alchemy and Magic

D

ear Miracles,  Some of my favorite businesspeople – those who have been wildly successful in building their empires – say the same thing: if you aren’t moving ahead you are falling behind. Makes some sense, especially in today’s business environment.

The way this dictum gets worked out in a more prosaic way, however, is that busy-ness all by itself equals or leads to success. A rolling stone gathers no moss. It is as if by simply moving from one task to another, we will achieve what we want to achieve; but if we stop, we will languish and we will die.

There is a word for this motion in Newtonian physics: inertia. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Procrastination, I contend, is simply on the other side of same dead force, the same inertia. Simply being busy is, then, no real remedy for procrastination (and I think our beloved procrastinators feel this deeply.)
But as it concerns busy-ness, at the root of all this is a mode of life the sociologist Max Weber described in his classic Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. This philosophy of action and business can make you a lot of money and help you accomplish a lot of deals; but by itself and as a philosophy of life, it tends to detach you from your friends, keep your children from knowing who you really are, and even, ironically, prevent you from doing the really hard work of your soul.
Action is not bad a thing. In so many we ways we need more effective action, which is in a way what all sacred arts are about. And you won’t find me crucifying the protestant work ethic; it is too much a part of my lineage and life to do so. It is very hard for me to stay still, and I am the sort of person that will work willingly and devotedly around the clock. If I lived in a perfect vacuum, all by myself, maybe I would.
But nature abhors a vacuum. I have come to recognize again and again, by those who bear witness to me, that busy-ness all by itself – only doing, only moving from one task to the next -misses a crucial ingredient in life, and those of us who live from a place of action alone or a place of rest alone can feel it. It’s a life not only without salt or savor or flavor, but without sustenance, without nourishment.
Intuitively we know this and our popular art depicts it quite clearly. The hero in the action movie, for example, never has a real and lasting romantic relationship – they can’t, because love requires something more than action alone, and action finds love, well, boring. Love requires the whole of who we are, as does wisdom, as does courage, peace, the best art, even real wealth. Why does it require the whole of who we are? Because it is the whole of us, and only the whole, that can respond most effectively to what is truly needed. The failure of workaholism and – on the other side – of procrastination are really failures to respond to what is genuinely needed – which is to say, a failure to allow the whole of us to come into play and into action.
So what is the solution? Something we rarely think about, because it is literally empty, and that is: space. To the degree that we want any of those goods in our life, community, relationships, and even knowledge, we have to look down at the roots of things, to the very spaces we create. Space is commodified all the time in our world – in the form of property and real estate – and it may seem like the most limited thing, like our time, but it is in fact the most abundant and powerful resource we have.
To see what I mean, I invite you to close your eyes. And then…imagine you are standing at the edge of mountain overlooking a great valley to the south which is shrouded in darkness. It is about an hour before dawn, a faint light is beginning to show on the Eastern horizon. A little bench for you to sit down upon and rest appears behind you. By the faint starlight, you sense movement to your left, and you spot what seems like a bushy tail disappearing behind a rock outcropping…
Wait. Stop. Where are you? You have taken one step into that realm of infinite space I call the sacred imagination.
Now try it again – close your eyes. At first you may see nothing. What do you want to see or do there? Swim in the stars, in the drift of neutrinos, or the depths of the sea, or stand in the middle of grove of ancient redwoods? It is your call, and yours alone.
Do you recognize the working of this realm in your own daily life? If not, I invite you to look further into it. This is a place in which interior palaces and journeys can be built and made, which for magical and mystical figures like Giordano Bruno and St. Theresa of Avila is more than talk or more than a parlor trick – but can become a serious life practice that flows directly into all corners and aspects and spaces of daily life.
Creating spaces is a magical act, and it is one of the first. Click to Tweet
Every time we make and approach an altar, call upon our allies, light the candles, bless what needs blessing, we are creating space that goes beyond space, a time that goes beyond time. We are, as it were, bending space, molding it; amplifying, deepening and extending it. Space-creating is attraction magic at its finest because the best ideas, truest words, and most interesting experiences are never found on the schedule or in your planner. These are reserved for the in-between moments when you are catching your breath after a sudden squall of tears or folding up the laundry. You cannot schedule time for wonder or true insight, beauty, or passion; but you can create the spaces that give each of those virtues the real chance to appear and dance through your life.
They create the conditions for deep effective response to what is needed in your life, here and now.  They will bless the spaces you have created and their appearance will encourage you to continue creating more.
How do we create space? We know what to do. We have to first of all be willing to do what is needed, no matter what form it takes. And that is hard. Sometimes it means that we need to sit quietly, for example, staring out of the window at the falling rain and the coursing wind while the candles burn down to their waxy stubs. Or it may mean that you have to be ok with the fact that the trip to the store is going to take an hour longer than you thought it would because you saw a neighbor or a friend losing it in the cereal aisle and now is not the time to walk on by, but the time to stop, place your hand on their heart, and listen no matter the cost in time.
There is no formula to know in advance what is needed at any given time.  But our readiness, to give ourselves over to what is truly needed, is already to begin creating the space. Space is created and blessed at once when you put down the pen, put down the report, put down the computer and pick up the phone so that you can talk to your best girlfriend that you haven’t gotten to see all year, read a story to your child, throw the ball for your pup, or just let your cat stare at you disdainfully and maybe allow you the privilege of petting her – if you’re lucky.
Creating spaces is a courageous act because there is real fear in the process…fear that we are gathering moss, missing out, falling behind, failing and flailing. It is a scary thing to look at the list of goals you took so much painstaking time on and scrap them in one go, because you missed the most obvious ones: spend more time with the people that you love, get to know every tree in your front yard, take a few minutes to talk to the mockingbird that graces your morning with its song.
Blessed be the ones, therefore, who are willing to fall behind, be a little foolish, and even fail…and blessed be the spaces they can create. For they are the ones who, in truth, race ahead, not aimlessly, and not without direction, but with eyes and hearts set on true purpose and infinite promise.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

When Hope has Left: Practical Medicines for Challenging Times

Ceremony and Ritual

A

s I have been talking to some of the soulful seekers in my community over the past month I have observed a pattern. The election, the year, the last five, or ten years, the wars, the injustices…it has all just become too much to bear.

So they have become, in their own words: paralyzed, unable to move, lazy, unproductive, not writing, not talking, not making love, music, or beauty of any kind, apathetic, numbed out, and hopeless.

Some people actively advise that we give up hope in the face of it all, understanding (incorrectly) hope to be a frail and passive thing, a kind of butterfly with broken wings.

In reality, hope is related to another word, the funny word “hop”. Hop, yes, just like a bunny rabbit through a springtime field.

No thank you, we say, the days of rabbits and springtime fields are long over.

Except we know better.

We know that life and death are in an eternal dance with each other, we know that rabbits are ancient creatures long honored not only for fertility and gentleness but also for their ability to guide the dead in the underworld and turn into magical women running free under the full moon.

This is the stuff of hope and there is nothing passive, fragile, or boring about it. Don’t give it up. Instead, call your deepest strength back and restore it.

I have written about the importance of keeping your tenderness alive during times that seem to call for only the hard and tough, and I have written too about the ever-unbroken deepest part of your self. Today I want to share with you the very practical medicines I have been encouraging my community members to apply to themselves whenever they find that hope has left and they are in a state of being turned to stone because they looked at the monster a bit too long. People are seeing results with them, and it is my expectation that you will too.

1.    Limit your exposure. If it is possible for you to get away from a situation, person, or place that saps you of vitality and strength then please do. If it is not possible then exercise extra sharp discernment about the quality of information you are receiving, the mediums through which you receive your information, and the amount of time during each day that you spend with this information. When we are called to be in witness of something hard we do not turn away, but we also do not let it take over the entirety of our lives, we cannot if we wish to bring blessing and healing back. Practically speaking limiting your exposure means gauging how much time and energy you spend on social media networks and in conversations (virtual and otherwise) that do not have a definite goal or end point.

2.    Rest and nourish your body. Ask any doctor, First Responder, or therapist. When we witness an event or a series of events that are traumatic we enter with a surge of adrenaline, then we often freeze, and from that point life slowly seeps out of us. The way out is most often not force or brute will, it is rest. Let yourself rest. Drink more water and less coffee, eat clean food. Soulful seekers need to realize that when they take in images, stories, information they take it in not just intellectually or emotionally, they take it in energetically and managing that energy tuckers you out. Lay your head down and let yourself cry some good tears. Your well has been emptied out and this is the first step to filling it back up again.

3.    Get oriented. In Spinning Gold I teach a ritual called the North Star rite. Everyone creates their own and everyone has a different one; but the one thing we all agree to is that this is the thing we do every single day, sometimes several times a day, to orient ourselves anew. Just as the North Star is a fixed point called upon for navigation, the ritual you choose is a fixed point that reminds you: this is who you are, this is where you stand, this is what (and who) you stand for; it roots you in your sovereignty. The North Star rite is something my students practice at least once a day, but when recovering from trauma or when knee-deep in it, the North Star rite is something you can do several times a day, calling yourself back to yourself morning, noon, and night.

4.    Stand in beauty. Once you have regained a sense of self and orientation it is time to fill the well back up. The best way I know is through beauty. Traumatic events happen and the winds of Fortune will blow this way and then the opposite direction. In orienting yourself you fix yourself to the immovable point in the spoke of the wheel. Standing in and for beauty, you call back to mind, body, and soul that there is wonder, and vastness, and more beauty in this world that is bigger and longer lasting than whatever horror has recently visited with you. Standing in and for beauty is not saying the horror did not, is not, happening; it is saying that it did, but that it isn’t the whole of your story, not ever.

5.    Bring the blessing. I call you all Miracles for the simple reason that you are. And you can choose to bring blessings in the ways that you live and the choices that you make every single day. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel famously said, “In Selma, Alabama, I learned to pray with my feet.” Yes to that and also:

Pray with your life, bring the blessing by the way that you live and the work that you do. Click to Tweet

It matters more now so move the obstacles out of the way, break out of the stone and the ice, call movement and life back in, and take care of yourself so that you can do the good work that only you can do.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Blessing for the Ever-Unbroken ~ New Moon in Sagittarius

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

On Tuesday 11/29 the New Moon dances through Sagittarius, the archer, the wounded healer, the wise teacher, the free spirit.

This is the first New Moon, or monthly new beginning, that we have had since the Presidential Election in the US. To say that emotions have been running hot and high would be a grave understatement.

And then there are the holidays, and the pressure to buy more and be more places. My son’s teacher pulled out a Gumby figure and stretched it in different directions to show how they would have to be from now until Winter break – flexible like Gumby, going with the flow, allowing their normal routine (they are five year olds) to be interrupted. When she told me that, I thought: hey, I need that lesson too! As do we all.

Join me in considering: where do I find freedom? I have one of many answers for you:

We find freedom in the ever-unbroken. Click to Tweet

Students of yoga, pilates and other rigorous exercise regimes know that what allows us to stretch out and stretch farther is developing a solid center or strong core. In the realm of soulful seeking, one of the hindrances to freedom of movement – what clouds our perception, limits our understanding of real alternatives – is a subtle and debilitating anxiety that freezes heart and mind alike.  In Spinning Gold – my class that teaches magic and the sacred arts through fairy tales and old stories – we are working with the Baba Yaga in her older-than-old first forest. What we find there is fear but/and also the deepest part of self that is solid, and that remains ever intact, whole, holy, and healthy.  What follows is a prayer for that place.

A Blessing for the Ever Un-Broken

Blessed ones in whom we live and move and have our being, today we ask for aid in remembering the ever-unbroken within us.

For we know and have heard, we have told the stories of the many sacred scars received throughout our journey and how those scars, many of them, are much more than skin-deep.

And we know and have heard about the many aspects of self and psyche; the functions and the dysfunctions, the pathologies and the anomalies too.

Let there be deeper remembering illuminated by wisdom, led by love.

Let there be deeper remembering that returns us to first self, true self, the fixed point at center around which the stars of our life revolve.

Let there be deeper remembering that returns us to core self, original self, fully intact self, where there are no marks or scars, no impressions or wounds.

Let there be deeper remembering that returns us to deepest soul self that has been and will be and holds within it all of our lineage as well as our legacy.

So that when we are hurt we can remember that there is a place over and above, underneath and beyond the wound.

So that when the wheel of fortune seems to spend faster and faster we can remember that there is a fixed and solid point upon which to stand.

So that when we feel our most broken we can remember that there is vast territory within each of us that is ever-unbroken, and that it is in that place that we make our stand and in that place that we make our home.

May it be so.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Sagittarius the Centaur

Divination and Dreams

W

e continue our jaunt through the Stars and their Earthly inspirations by considering the next sign, Sagittarius.

Sagittarius is the 9th sign in the zodiacal wheel, attuned to the element of Fire, and is a mutable sign. The Sun is in Sagittarius from November 21st through December 21st. Mutable signs always mark transition points in time and Sagittarius is no exception as it marks the turning from deep Autumn into early Winter. Represented by the Centaur – a mythic creature depicted as having the torso and upper body of a man and the hindquarters of a horse – Sagittarius is a sign of contradictions. Like its real life horse counterpart, no matter what else Sagittarius may be up to you will find that they are both social and highly sensitive, intelligent in mind and in body.

Sagittarius ConstellationCentaur as Sagittarius: By Briana Saussy

Sagittarius, like its opposing sign of Gemini, has two distinct natures and these are reflected in its stories. The constellation that is sometimes simply known as “the archer” is widely agreed upon to be a centaur, a so-called mythic being that is half man and half horse and a being that in actuality expresses the beauty and power of natural horsemen and horsewomen, human beings who are especially gifted at riding upon, hunting from, and working with horses.

If you have been privileged to know such a person and watch them ride, then it is very clear where the image of the centaur came from – for there are some people who seem so at home upon a horse that they themselves become part of the horse and the horse becomes part of them. You can see how, even before we get into the myths proper, there is a dual nature within this sign so let us explore that more in depth now.

The confusion begins with a name. Specifically the story of Sagittarius is connected to two names. The first is Chiron. Known to astrologers for the asteroid that bears his title, in the ancient world Chiron was the best-known and best beloved of the Centaurs. Because of his divine parentage (no less than Zeus was his father) and his initial teachers Apollo and Artemis, he was markedly different than the other centaurs whose natures closely resembled that of the Satyrs (we will return to this but for now just make a note).

Centaur for SagittariusWhereas most Centaurs were rowdy, lascivious, wild, and rambunctious; Chiron was serious, wise, a remarkably gifted healer and astrologer, and was best known as a teacher to some of the most famous names in the Greek pantheon including Jason (of the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece fame), Peleus (the father of Achilles), Achilles (of the Trojan War), Perseus (the hero who defeated the gorgon Medusa), Asclepius (the most gifted of the ancient healers), Heracles (also known as Hercules the strongest man), Theseus (who defeated the Minotaur) and Ajax.

Chiron taught skills of horsemanship (obviously), taking aim and hunting successfully, sports and games, arbitration (one of his most famous rules was to never decide until both sides of an argument have been heard), astrology, and healing among many other subjects. Chiron is known as the “wounded healer” because he obtained a wound that he refused to heal.

He was shot with an arrow that had been tipped with a lethal poison. Some versions claim that one of Chiron’s students, usually Heracles, committed the act, and most tellings agree that the poison the arrow had been tipped in was one that could be used for healing and that Chiron had actually taught his students to make the concoction. He is the wounded healer because though he was immortal, Chiron’s decision to not heal his own wound allowed another famous figure, Prometheus, to gain freedom from his eternal punishment of being chained to a cliff and having a vulture peck out his liver, every single day, a sentence he was given for the crime of giving mortals the gift of fire. When Chiron willingly sacrificed himself and took Prometheus’ place the Gods were so impressed that they allowed him to ascend to the heavens and become the constellation Sagittarius, or did they?

Some of the tales claim that when Chiron ascended into the heavens he became the constellation Centaurus and then there are the stories that connect the star sign of Sagittarius to an entirely different name, that of the Satyr Crotus, the son of Pan.

A Satyr can sometimes be confused with a Centaur but where Centaurs have the upper body of a human and the lower body of a horse, Satyrs are most commonly depicted in ancient art as having the body of a man with the hooves, tail, and beard, and sometimes ears or other features, of a goat. In some depictions they are a mix of both horse and goat which is interesting from an astro angle seeing as the zodiac sign next to Sagittarius is Capricorn, also known as the goat.

If Centaurs were known for being wild and lascivious, Satyrs were seen as positively raunchy. They were followers of both Pan and the God of Wine Dionysus and are ithyphallic (with penis always erect) in most artistic depictions. Satyrs call to mind the wild, unchecked, sexual urge. They also served a religious function during the ancient holy days very similar to what we might think of as Trickster. Their ribald jokes, sexual erections, and apparent inability to hold their liquor all made them seem absurd and ridiculous; but they were disciples of Dionysus and as such were honored during the major feast days through sacred drama. What we often think of as the Greek tragedies were plays compose for religious festivals honoring Dionysus. Before the three main tragic plays were performed the roads would be opened with a Satyr play – a shorter, humorous, performance that both poked fun of and celebrated the simple pleasures of life: good good, good drink, good sex, and joy.

Back to Sagittarius’ other source: Crotus was one of the better known Satyrs and was most beloved by the Muses. He is credited with inventing archery and the art of hunting animals. Crotus lived with the Muses (Calliope, Clio, Euterpe, Erato, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania) who oversaw various art forms and it is they who requested that he ascend to the stars as the sign of Sagittarius because he invented applause to thank them and celebrate their brilliance.

So let’s pull this all together. We have two radically different potential sources for the sign of Sagittarius. Strong voices in our culture would tell us that we have to pick one or the other story in order to really get Sagittarius but we know better, we will come to understand the sign best through both tales for Sagittarius is both the wise healer and the vibrant Trickster.

When we get to know Sagittarius in our own charts and among our friends and family members it all becomes clear. Both Crotus and Chiron are at play here. In Sagittarius’ love of being outdoors, typically casual attitudes towards relationships, love, and sex, and love of a good time and party (remember the sign is also Jupiter ruled) we see the Satyr Crotus and son of Pan showing up. Sagittarius is known as the free spirit of the zodiac and if that doesn’t sound Satyr-like I am not sure what does! And yet there is more to the story. For Sagittarius is also the sign and sector of the chart that rules religion, philosophy, and teaching, and truth-telling. In these areas we see the influence of the beloved teacher Chiron. We also see the aspect of the wounded healer and can read that as part of the stellar narrative – the wound is received/discovered in Scorpio and then with Sagittarius as our guide we learn the ways of wisdom and the wild that allow for the healing process to begin.

How do we start that healing process?

With Sagittarius, the Centaur, Satyr, and Horse as our guides the answer is simple: saddle up and take aim at what matters most.

 SagittariusCentaur As Animal: By Sara Magnuson

We have learned that the Centaur is a creature of two types, typically Man and Horse, but what does that mean? What is it like to be part Horse and how can that be unified with the nature of Humans? To contemplate what it means to be as-one with this magnificent creature we must try to understand their physicality and senses, their intelligence and intuitive abilities.

Belonging to the family Equidae, which dates to over 50 million years ago (mya), Horses as we know them look very different from their ancient relatives. Of the genus Equus, Horses, Zebras, and Donkeys are the only still-living relatives of the Equidae family. What we recognize fully as Horse today originated in North America about 4 mya and migrated across land-bridges to Eurasia, only to eventually circle back to North America. The last prehistoric North American Horses, the true “Wild Horses,” died out about 10,000 years ago, but by then they had spread across the globe. The Horses that roam our country today are actually feral Horses brought to North America in the early 1500s by the Spanish. They have been left to run wild and free for centuries, creating their own free-ranging herds.

Horse is an intuitive, sensitive creature, as it must be to meld with the human form, but before we get into that let’s get a picture of their physical nature. Horse can live up to 30 years and is of great stature – measuring 4-6 ft tall, not including the neck and head, and weighing between 800 to over 2000 lbs with more than 60% of their body mass being muscle. Horse’s body temperature runs hotter than ours and their hearts beat much slower. As big and strong as Horse seems to us humans, in the animal world they are considered prey and their senses reflect that.

Horse has the largest eyes of any currently living land mammal, one on each side of their head giving them almost 360° vision, yet overall their vision is only slightly better than humans. Their big eyes give them the advantage of detecting the smallest of movements; a much needed impression for a prey animal. Being red-green color blind, they are good at seeing greens and blues, which is an advantage to an herbivore like Horse. Horse’s sense of taste is highly attuned and their tongue can identify toxic plants, as well as distinguish between sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. Closely connected to taste, their ability to smell is average, but they possess the Jacobson’s Organ (humans do not) that allows them to detect pheromones. Horse has excellent hearing with each of their two ears being able to rotate independently up to 180°. These sensitive beings can hear ultrasonic frequencies (think Bats) as well as very low frequencies such as the low growls of a predator or the rumbling of another herd moving in Horse’s direction. The ability to detect poisonous plants and the pheromones of other creatures, the possession of radar-like hearing, and a highly acute visual sensitivity to movement are adaptations that have allowed a prey animal like Horse to survive for millennia.

The body of Horse is extremely delicate and responsive. Covered with hair, Horse is so sensitive that they can feel a fly on just one strand. Imagine the sensitivity of your fingertips, but all over your whole body. The manes and tails of Horse have been (and still are) used for a myriad of things – from pottery and jewelry to fabrics and brushes to weaponry and musical instruments. Horse also makes a variety of sounds, each labeled with unique terminology – whinnying, neighing, nickering, squealing, groaning, blowing, snorting, etc. Through body language and their senses of touch and sound, Horse communicates their moods and preferences to each other, as well as to other animals, including humans.

Left to their own natural ways, Horse is a highly social herd animal that doesn’t like to be isolated. There’s a pecking order within the ranks of a herd and smaller bands are formed comprised of one adult male stallion, several females (with a dominant mare), and their offspring. The dominant mare of the whole herd knows where all the good resources are, like food and water, and oversees the daily routine of the group while keeping the general peace. The stallion stays on the edges marking territory, offering protection, and “herding the herd” together. Domesticated Horses often live in herds that have been formed artificially by owners and breeders (or no herd at all) so these natural relationships and behaviors can exhibit a great deal of variation.

While domestication can be controversial, it is what brings Horse in to union with Man. An exact date is unknown for the taming and training of Horse, but evidence suggests this relationship began at least 5000 years ago. Horse’s first function with humans was to provide work-labor and transportation, which was crucial in the development of civilizations and agriculture. Once this dynamic was established Horse became an integral part of various aspects of human life. No longer used solely for pulling plows or chariots, Horse’s skills became an asset in wars, sports, products, entertainment, and even therapy.

As Briana mentioned at the beginning, those humans that have learned how to communicate and synchronize their bodies with Horse show us that we do not simply control Horse; there has been a process of adaptation and learning on the part of Man as well. You can’t just jump on any old Horse and start riding around like you own the place. Horse allows you to ride and it is at Horse’s discretion to deny you this privilege. In our modern world, we have made it so that we primarily see only the well-behaved side of Horse (the teacher/Chiron side, if you will), putting them to work doing what they are skilled at. But just like humans, Horses are emotional, social, curious, playful animals (the Satyr side) that form companionship attachments with other creatures. Serious horse riders know that tending to the emotional/social connection is the only way to have a healthy relationship based on mutual respect. Horse must have trust and faith in its rider and the rider must do the same. If one or the other exerts too much control or behaves negatively, both feel the consequences and the dynamic is damaged. Horses and Humans have many of the same needs and so it makes sense that these two animals can so easily merge into one magnificent, exalted creature like the Centaur.

Call on Sagittarius When:

  • You need to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
  • You are considering teaching as a profession or part of your work in the world.
  • You want to continue your education – especially higher education.
  • You need to adopt a more detached and objective attitude towards matters of the heart.
  • You are have an adventure, especially those that take place outside.
  • You need to learn something deeply and weave it into your philosophy of life.
  • You are ready to have a party!
  • You need to connect with the Wild.
  • You are ready to pursue wisdom.
  • You want more spiritual and/or religious devotion in your life.
  • You need more freedom.
  • You are ready to take aim.

Be Wary Of:

  • Flakiness – Sagittarius can sometimes be too easy-going and forget about previous commitments and schedules.
  • Rigidity – when coming from the place of truth-teller and religious disciple Sagittarius can be extremely fixed on their understanding of all that is right, wrong, and in-between.
  • Commitment phobia – Freedom is THE key theme for Sagittarius so anything or anyone too clingy will get the boot.
  • Over-indulgence – Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius has a hard time knowing when enough is enough sometimes can go overboard.
  • Emotional aloofness – Sagittarius loves relating to people but sometimes can hold issues that some find very triggering in a completely objective, overly mental, manner that does not sit well with others.

Questions to Ponder:

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

  • Where am I naturally gifted at healing myself and/or others?
  • What is my relationship to all that is wild and untamed – what has it taught/continues to teach me?
  • What does freedom mean to me? Where do I feel free? Where do I feel trapped?
  • What is my relationship to play and seriousness?
  • What would I most like to celebrate?
  • What am I ready to learn?
  • What am I ready to teach?
  • What is wisdom for me and where do I find it?

Active Imagination Journey:

The mythology of Centaur is based on the reality of expert horse riders; men and women who moved so harmoniously with Horse that they gave the impression of a single unified being. Those with the gift of horsemanship are seen as wise and powerful because they can work intuitively and cooperatively with the elements of freedom and wildness. This meditation will allow you to encounter Horse and ask for its guidance in exploring the untamed places where we are perceptive, powerful, truthful, wild, and liberated.

Sit comfortably and take a deep breath.

Close your eyes and listen to your breathing. Make each inhale and each exhale a little fuller and deeper than the last.

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

See that you are walking on a smooth dirt path that is taking you through fields of green grass, as far as you can see. It is dusk and you are heading North. It is quiet and still and peaceful. Notice your steps, your heartbeat and your breath all in rhythm together.

The path curves and you see that the trees have grown together to form an archway above the path. As you approach, pause and take a deep breath. Feel any fear or worry leave your body and pass through the archway feeling strong and unafraid of what lies beyond.

You find yourself at the center of a four-way crossroads. Stand calmly in the center of the crossroads and feel the beauty of this sacred and powerful place. Feel that this is the center of all things. The place where all possibilities meet. Take a deep breath and feel at one with the Great Mystery.

Standing in the center of the crossroads, you are facing North, with the East to your right and the West to your left. Turn around to focus your attention behind you, to the South. You see that this path leads into a beautiful, warm, painted desert. You can feel the sun on your face and know that this is the womb of the element of Fire. Although it may feel wild and untamed, you are drawn to the heat and begin walking down this path into the unknown desert.

The sights, sounds, and smells are tangible to you now. Breath in the aromas, feel the air of the place on your skin. Listen to the sounds of life here. Look carefully around you and observe closely your immediate surroundings. Introduce yourself to this place. Convey that you are here as a caretaker and a protector. Spend some time here, walk around, explore what’s right around you, and get to know what’s here.

Find a spot that looks inviting to you and sit down. As you sit, notice how relaxed and at ease you feel in this setting; notice how comfortable it is to be in this spot, right now; notice how much you care about this space and all its inhabitants. Breathe deeply. Listen.

You hear something moving nearby and look slowly toward the sound. A noble, glorious Horse emerges before you. Greet the animal and sit very still. Focus on the calm rhythmic beating of your heart and take slow breaths. Allow Horse to circle you, smell you, sense you. After a time, and in a slow gentle motion, reach out to put your hand on Horse’s body and it moves closer to you in agreement. Notice how it feels, how it smells, what it sounds and looks like. Sit together for a moment in silence.

Convey to Horse that you are here as a friend and an ally. Ask respectfully for its guidance and promise to be trustworthy. Tell Horse that you are open to learning new ways and are ready to explore the uncharted territories within. Open your soul and listen to what Horse has to share with you.

When you are ready, thank Horse for its wisdom and generosity. Assure it that you will carry its traits and lessons proudly and with honor. Remember that you can always return to this place again. Wish Horse a safe and joyful life as it returns from where it came. Remain seated in this place for a moment and reflect on your encounter. Think about how you will carry this knowledge with you.

Slowly stand up and see the path that will lead you back to the center of the crossroads. As you reach the center, notice your breath and pause here to center yourself in your new-found wisdom. Face the threshold of the crossroads with a new understanding and sense of purpose. Take a long deep breath

When you are ready to return, the archway of trees and the path you originally walked opens before you. Follow it, going back the way you came, through fields of green grass as far as you can see. As you walk, you are aware of your steps, your heartbeat and your breath in rhythm together. Become aware of your presence in your physical body. Allow your mind to gently return to the present moment where you are sitting comfortably, listening to your breath. When you feel ready, open your eyes.

 

Altar and Ritual:

In honor of easy-breezy Sagittarius this is a pretty straightforward and simple ritual.

Begin by contemplating what you really need to aim for and at right now – what requires your undivided attention and focus, what have you been afraid of pursuing full out even though you know you need to

Got it?

Write it down. It can be a word, a phrase, or a 10 page letter – totally up to you.

As you write include what obstacle(s) have kept you from aiming true in this endeavor.

For now just note them, call up the Sagittarius objectivity and don’t get down on yourself or judge, just notice.

Now, with your petition in hand, go out into the natural world somewhere wild. Go somewhere where once upon a time great herds of horses ran over the ground with their manes flying behind them. This might be a park in the middle of a concrete city, it might be an arboretum or in the middle of a beloved wood.

Bring an offering.

You can bring whatever you like but knowing Centaurs and Satyrs as I do I would recommend some or all of the following: figs, honey, cream, goat cheese, good red wine, and sage.

Bring a spade and a container to hold a small amount of earth in.

Walk around until you find the just right place.

Say a blessing to and for all that is wild and free and offer up the goods you have brought.

Ask for permission to scoop up a bit of good earth so that you may apply the knowing of the wild to the wisdom you need in taking proper aim.

Once you have received permission scoop up a small amount of soil.

Conclude with any final offerings and thanksgivings.

Carry your earth back home and place it on a plate or bowl in your working space.

Set a candle in the center of this sacred earth, I recommend orange if you work with colors, otherwise white or natural beeswax work great.

Anoint the candle in any way that you like, affirming and acknowledging that this candle is opening the road so that the wisdom of the wild can be applied to the obstacle(s) that keep you from taking true aim at what matters most.

Choose a number of days to perform this ceremony – it can be 3, 7, or 14 depending on the obstacles you are dealing with – how big they are and how many there are.

Divide your candle into the appropriate sections – you can do this by sticking pins in the candle or simply eyeballing it. For instance, if you are working over 7 days then you will burn 7 segments of the candle and so on.

You can begin this work at any time in the lunar cycle and day, usually I do this at sunrise.

On the first day light your candle and then take a bit of the dirt you have collected and blend it into the dirt in your front or back yard. If you do not have a front or back yard, blend the dirt into the soil of a living plant in your home.

As you mix the earth in, ask that you be able to apply the wisdom of all that is wild and free to your particular situation so that your obstacles may be removed and your aim may be true.

Repeat this every day for the number of days you have chosen.

On the final day blend in the rest of the remaining dirt.

Take some time to reflect on all that you have done and for each obstacle you noted pick a practical action that will help you remove that obstacle and have true aim.

Once you have picked your actions, go do them.

 

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.

Save

Save

Save

Save

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.