4 Ways to Honor the New Moon

Lunar Letter

Rock carving from Laussel cave where a woman holding a crescent horn points to her womb
Dear Miracles~
For those of us who are magically minded the lunar phases offer wonderful opportunities to observe our scaro-magical work throughout a month. Because a full lunation is about a month long, we can use points along the way to “check in” with our work, our practices, and also to make ritual and ceremony. Traditionally there are at least two such points that sacred artists throughout time and around the world have been aware of: the New Moon and the Full Moon. Today we are going to focus on the New Moon.
The New Moon is the time in a lunar cycle when the moon is conjunct the sun. Because of the position of moon and sun, we on earth typically cannot see the New Moon, it usually is black against the equally dark night sky*. Sometimes we can see the New Moon during an eclipse and sometimes a tiny, tiny crescent of moonlight will peek out.

New Moon nights are the best nights for stargazing.

Here are four guidelines to help you attune, bless, and be blessed in turn by the beautiful New Moon:

  • Remember that the New Moon is New. This is the best time to begin new projects, seed new ideas, create new ceremonies, rituals, or simply begin another round of self-care and creative exploration.
  • In many parts of the world New Moon is associated with youth, inexperience, and innocence. This makes it an especially good time to create any ceremonies honoring what and who is young in your life.
  • Menstruating women have the ability to sync their cycles up with the phases of the moon. A woman whose cycle is not naturally following a lunation may sleep under moonlight for a month or two and find that all of a sudden she is in sync. Synchroncity with the moon means that menstruating women are at the peak of their fertility during the Full Moon and experience the onset of their blood time right before or on the New Moon. Therefore, all rituals of self-care, nurturing, and honoring what needs to be shed for now are quite appropriate. Peri or post menopausal women and men still have strong connections to the lunar phases as our bodies are over 70% water and the moon rules the tides.
  • As the New Moon begins a new lunar month, it is a great time to do routine scaro-magical rites such as house cleansing and blessing, renewing protective talismans, and performing a monthly divination.

 

*My good (and brilliant) friend Marion corrected me on the above:  The new moon is not in the night sky at all – it’s up in the sky during daylight hours. It sets with the sun at night. That’s why the first view of the waxing crescent is so low in the evening sky – the moon has been chasing the sun. Daylight moontime. Like most all sky objects during the day it gets washed out by the sun and the blue. Also of note, there is no fixed ‘dark side of the moon’ – whatever side is away from the sun is dark. It changes as the moon orbits earth. What is fixed is the far side of moon.

 

What is your favorite moon phase?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.

How to write a petition

Learning and Community

love letters, stationary, pen and ink
love letter set from Terrain

Dear Miracles,

Petition is a fancy word for prayer; and in the sacred arts we do a lot of prayer making. When someone commissions ritual work or orders a devotional candle one of my first questions is: what is your petition? What I have found over the years is that people often have a strong idea of what they want but they don’t know how to state it simply and with ease.

In my experience the most effective prayers are simple words, straight from the heart, and sharply focused on one single intention. That is the petition you want to write, that is the prayer you want to make. Here is one way to create it:

Ask:

  • What is the ONE most important thing to me about this situation/person/relationship/project/idea/dream?
  • What is my biggest fear around this situation/person/relationship/project/idea/dream?
  • What quality do I need to cultivate in myself to meet that fear head on?

Then, work with the following structure:

Dear/Blessed/Beloved (insert name of Deity, Cosmic Force, Nature, or Universe), my intention is that I (answer to the first question).

I recognize that I am afraid of (answer to the second question), and I ask/request/pray/believe that I will grow in (answer to the third question) so that my intention has, is, and will be fulfilled in the best possible/deepest/wisest/most beautiful way.

Amen/Thank you/So it is/It is done

 

For instance, say that I have decided to do a ritual around getting a new job. I will answer the above questions like so:

  • The most important thing to me about the new job is that it fills my need for meaningful, lucrative work.
  • My biggest fear is that I will not get the job.
  • I need to cultivate the quality of courage.

Blessed Creator, my intention is that I obtain a lucrative new job that fills my need for meaningful work.
I recognize that I am afraid of not getting that job, and I believe that I will grow in courage so that my intention has, is, and will be fulfilled in the best possible way.

And so it is, was, and ever shall be.

 

That’s it! Easy, clean, and clear. Now go forth and petition your heart out!

What is the best petition you ever wrote/best prayer you ever said?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.

My Tarot Story

Inspired and Inspirited

What is the tarot? If I had a penny for all the times this questions has been asked and all of the ways in which it has been answered over the years — well, my house would have beautiful copper walls!
There are many ways to approach the tarot. I could give you the scholarly version: seventy-eight cards, divided into the categories of Major and Minor Arcana, first appearing in Italy in the early fifteenth century, used in games of chance and not for divination purposes! Or I could provide the therapeutic view point first made popular by Carl Jung: each card is an aspect of the psyche and can be understood as resonating with the archetypes dwelling in the Collective Unconscious. Perhaps you would rather have tarot as a form of entertainment wherein a beautiful woman with glossy nails and smooth hands dramatically shuffles a colorful set of cards out onto midnight velvet as the lights lower and you prepare yourself to hear about…your FUTURE.
All wonderful aspects of tarot to be sure, but none of these are my tarot and what can I write about with any knowing except the tarot as I came to know it? This is the tarot that was shared with me by my mother, who had it from her father, who had it from someone I do not know — perhaps a wizened auntie, or black haired cousin, or Irish speaking grandmother once upon a time. My earliest memory of tarot is sitting at my mother’s knee when I was three years old. We were in the living room of our old house and sun was pouring in off the patio, the buttery yellow light illuminated the first card, card 0, The Fool. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen — this man in such wonderful clothes and with a little dog! I admired how bravely he lifted up his heart to sky and seemed to place all bets on the power of faith. I wondered what his story was and would be — for surely, surely, it would hold great adventure.
Story is the vital part of the tarot and I mean that quite literally. The images on the cards make up a skeleton (and this is one reason why sagacious readers have favorite decks for specific situations) but the stories of the cards are the muscle, tendon, and vital organs that knit the bones together and create a whole body. Tarot tells us many stories; some are natural and some are supernatural, some are about mother, father, brother, sister, work, lovers, home, children, health, fear, hope, passion, loss, gain, death and life — always life. Some stories are about Gods or Angels and Devils while many of the stories are about you and me and what it really takes to know ourselves and live well. But all of the stories have one thing in common — they are all mirrors. And in their silvery pools we see ourselves and can rediscover and recollect bone-deep knowing and soul-truths that we carry with us always even if we forget about them from time to time. It is this mirroring quality that the tarot possesses that has compelled people to consult it for over 600 years on matters great and small alike and it is this ability to remind us of what is most true and precious in life that allows the tarot to speak to us in the most practical and down-to-earth ways while remaining unwaveringly attuned to what is most sacred. That is the tarot I know of, and I would love to share it with you.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.

The Introverted Aries & other Astrological Anomalies

Learning and Community

Dear Miracles,
An introverted Aries.
A Taurus who is chatty.
A shy Gemini.
Cancers that never dream.
A Leo who prefers to be NOT in the spotlight.
Disorganized Virgos.
The Libran who doesn’t get along…with anyone.
Mainstream Scorpios.
The Sagittarius who likes to stay home.
Capricorns who aren’t competitive.
Aquarians who are decidedly not social.
Loud-mouth Pisceans.

Sure, these are not the typical descriptions for each sun sign, but I have met folks who fit with each description. I’m often told by a client…this is my sun sign, but it doesn’t fit me, I’m nothing like that! Maybe so and maybe no. The whole point of astrology, really the whole point of any sacred art, is that we are not reducible. We cannot be reduced to our genes, our address, our education, our family, our talents or our weaknesses.

The whole is always greater than the parts.

That’s what astrology teaches. So does tarot. Both disciplines should encourage an aerial view…one that opens up and expands on possibilities, not a view that leaves you feeling trapped in a category that doesn’t work and doesn’t resonate.

More love.

More possibility.

More promise.

Never less.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.

Daily Practice and Dancing Planets

Hearth and Home

D

ear Miracles: As we usher in September I am preparing for my favorite season — Autumn — with the celebrations, the remembering of our ancestors, the magic making, and pumpkin everything! I find that September, at least after the first week when we get into the swing of school time rhythms, is a wonderful month to assess and remember where we are, what we are committed to, and what we are doing with ourselves in our sacred arts work.

To me the best place to begin this investigation is to look at our daily practices — what practices are speaking to us strongly, resonating more often than not, and what practices feel dull, lifeless, and no longer vital? Right now taking the time to ask these questions is especially appropriate because we have two potent retrogrades happening in the heavens — both Uranus and Neptune are retrograde. Uranus will be retrograde until Winter Solstice and Neptune is retrograde through November 16th.

Longtime readers know that I often say that the key to working with a retrograde rhythm is to remember to “re”. Re-member. Re-assess. Re-structure. Re-view, You get the idea. The specific planets that are in retrograde provide us with a focus for all of this “re” activity. So in the case of Neptune, the planet that is attuned most potently to memory, intuitive knowing, psychic skills, deep feeling, and powerful dreaming, we can look at our daily practices and ask about these elements. Are they absent or present? Is there a way that they can be better honored in our daily rites?

Uranus in some ways is a polar opposite of Netpune but they are both planetary forces adept at walking and working between the worlds. In the case of Uranus (whose name means “heaven” in Ancient Greek) the key idea is visionary. Whereas Neptune looks back, Uranus looks forward and asks, what is possible here, now, going forward? Mercury is often aligned with intellect and intellectual capacity as well as successful travel and skills of mediation. Some find it helpful to conceive of Uranus as Mercury writ large — so that our inner brilliance is called forth, travel takes on a deeper meaning, and we each have the opportunity to mediate between heaven and earth. When Uranus retrogrades we have the chance to look at our daily practice and ask: where is the brilliance here? What travels, what adventures am I open to at this time? What am I mediating on a daily basis? Are my ties to the celestial and terrestrial strong and sure? If not, what blessing way might help with that?

People often ask me what a daily practice looks like. Well first and foremost it is something you do DAILY. Not weekly, not monthly, not once a year when you feel like it/remember it, but daily. Because consistency is the key to deepening your sacro-magical work we want our daily practice to be accessible. If you only have ten minutes a day to dedicate to your sacred art then let’s make those ten minutes count! Everyone has a different way of creating their daily practice, but here are some key components I find helpful to keep in mind:

1.) Stillness and Silence. If there is only one thing you can do let it be this. To be still and to be quiet—even for a couple of minutes—it is like a power nap! It leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to go forward with clarity.

2.) Prayer/Blessing. Blessing our selves, our precious bodies, minds, and spirits, and blessing those we love allows us to commune with what we most revere. To expand upon this consider blessing the home in the morning when you awake and in the evening before bedtime.

3.) Communion. With your guides, your allies, the Divine, or your own inner knowing. Communion often looks like stillness and silence but it is different in feel and technique because communion is actually listening closely and carefully.

Two possible additions to make to these guidelines at this time, given the dance between Neptune and Uranus would be active imagination journeys (mediating between this world and the worlds beyond in honor of Uranus) and developing or re-developing an intuitive sacred art like tarot in honor of Neptune..

And now Miracles, it is your turn!Tell me what aspects of your daily practice are running strong and/or what snags have come up for you all.

Happy September and Happy Practice! 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.

Star Gazing Astrology

Inspired and Inspirited

Of course every culture through time has had their own astrology and star-lore — for our own planet is cradled in stars and the celestial bodies were once believed to sing all beings on earth into slumber, action, love, war-making, and wisdom — some of us believe such songs may still be heard. It only makes sense that we would cast our eyes up to the starry vault of heaven for guidance and inspiration, as our ancestors did before us and as their ancestors did before them.

In old sacro-magical traditions every plant, animal, stone, and star was seen as having it’s own “virtue”, meaning that each object had a specific and unique nature. So it was that the planets were never simply seen as a series of luminous bodies some greater and some smaller, but rather, in our Western tradition, Mercury was the alchemists quicksilver, banner holder of ideas, intellectual pursuits, communication, and walker between the worlds who stood at the threshold or the crossroads and kept the secrets of magic. Likewise, luminous Venus held court with all lovers and would-be lovers inviting them all into her lovely and well appointed bed chamber.

Understanding astrology in this way allows us to consider the whole — specifically the whole life of any one person — and recognize that our lives and our virtues can be seen most clearly through a veil of stars and celestial bodies. Such an understanding is still available to us today.

When I analyze a client’s natal chart, write about current astrological events {link to astrology tag in blog} or teach astrology classes {link to star magic}, I find that there are two significant barriers in relating to and gleaning wisdom from the sacred art of astrology. The first is that for far too long astrology has been weighed down by the double evil of inaccessible jargon and fatalism. The second is that many people are turned off by the various symbols of astrology and the perception that one must be mathematically inclined to derive anything of use from the stars. In the first case of inaccessible jargon and fatalism there is much truth — old astrological texts are full of obscure references and even more modern books are rife with terms like “sextile” and “conjunct” that definitely can leave the would-be student feeling like they know LESS about the planets or zodiac sign than they did when they started. And for sure I have talked to many sun-sign Librans who are tired of being told that they are indecisive and sun sign Scorpios who have a decidedly sunny outlook on life despite their supposed dark and brooding characteristics.
The second complaint, that of the symbolism and mathematical nature of astrology is largely without grounds. There are thirty one symbols that the interested astrologer needs to learn — the twelve zodiac signs and the nine planetary glyphs — that gives anyone a firm foundation in the art of astrology. As for mathematics, a certain kind of computational skill was required for the old art of astrology, but with so many excellent programs out there now for chart casting, the computation is something that the beginner can learn if they want to, but by no means do they have to.
Here is what it is essential to understand about astrology as I practice and teach it: the zodiac signs, the planets, and the 12 houses of the zodiac wheel do not make us do/feel/act in any particular manner — rather the stars, planets, and asteroids serve as a celestial wisdom council. This council is uniquely arranged for every individual on the planet so the lessons, challenges, and soul knowing for each of us is also different. However, once we learn to speak with and listen to this wisdom council we can live a deeper life that is full of more meaning and beauty. And that is the reason we practice astrology.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.

The Sacred Artist

Inspired and Inspirited

D

ear Miracles: For too long we have been without a name and though names are not everything, as many a faerie story tells us, they are also not nothing. The right name is magical; it can open doors, reveal treasure and say what is true.

stratton_rumple2
Rumplestiltskin–one of many faerie tales where the right name is of utter (literally as in to be uttered) importance.

Within our tribe and for all of our differences there are many things we hold in common such as and including: an unwillingness to settle for what is “normal”, sanctioned, and approved of by governments, multi-national corporations, popular media, too strict religious sensibilities, or the denizens of Hollywood, also there is a desire to see and speak of what is true–what lies beneath the ground and above in the aerial branches and cold mountaintops, to champion the healthful and vibrant aspects of our lineage while taking heed of of our Ancestors’ errors, to return–as best we can–to old, older, oldest ways of knowing, seeing, and being in the world to a place of honor while at the same time creating space for what is newly born and yet to be known.

Others have given us names, oh yes, they have.

A catalogue is both helpful and hilarious: New Age–irony of ironies because for so many of us what we know and do is grounded in practices that are quite old, Heretics–because our sense of the sacred does not sit comfortably in the sanctuary of orthodox religion, Occultists–coming from the word occult which means hidden–because we have hidden and we have been hidden in response to persecution and fear, Light Workers–because too many of us continue to buy into the wrong belief that fear and threat only comes in darkness and because we have forgotten the nourishing power of Night, Pagan–springing from the latin paganus–meaning among other things a country dweller–because many of us ourselves come from rural stock and given our colorful variety of devotion and styles of reverence what else might we be called? We are sometimes called Psychic–it is usually said in a pejorative manner but we may claim it in good faith since our work does deal directly with the health and quality of the Soul, Sorceress–because power, especially medial power wielded by women, is still seen as dangerously unpredictable, weird–because we do not conform to the norms or live our lives the way the dominant culture says we often should (also interestingly tied to the other wyrd which of course means fate and destiny–concepts we are versed in), bitch–because we do not see NO as a bad word (and maybe because many of us love dogs and other four legged creatures?), whore–sometimes yes, we are still called whores, or ho, or harlot, because we affirm that our sensuality is sacred and acts of love and pleasure can be, should be, acts of touching the Divine. Tree Hugger is often applied to us because in fact, you may find us hugging trees.

We are called Witch–intended to be the deadliest insult of all, one that not so long ago promised a date with a pyre or gallows–one that we now embrace with enthusiasm because in its root and origin it points to what we care for and pursue above all else…wisdom…of right living, of connecting to and honoring of all life, of our souls and our fiery hearts.

A name is not everything but a name is not nothing either. The right name, a true name, provides a point of reference–this is who I am and this is where I stand–it reveals a little red door that opens upon the majesty of each of our unique and blessed in-most natures, a name, the right name or the wrong one, determines a way of seeing and a way of being seen.

I say we have worn the names that others have thrust upon us for too long and enough is enough–these names are tired and cramped like a pair of too worn and too small shoes. If, like so many of us, you too have wondered in the wilderness of No Name looking, looking, looking for the right words in every shadow, canyon crevice, and under every rock then I offer this to you:

Be a Sacred Artist–a creator and delight taker in all that is whole, holy, and sacred.

A name is not everything but it is not nothing. The right name allows us to be seen as we truly are and one thing more–to decide how, where, and by what means we will make our presence known and do our work in the world.

Claiming your name is the first step in doing your work, the work, you were placed here to do; it’s time.

 

Postscript:

I began using the term Sacred Artist personally a couple of years ago and I have been delighted to watch more and more people claim the title for themselves. I wrote some preliminary thoughts on the history of the Sacred Arts and I was inspired with the term by my husband–a fine artist, who told me that yes, crafting ritual is an art form.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.