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.
The Libran who doesn’t get along…with anyone.
The Sagittarius who likes to stay home.
Capricorns who aren’t competitive.
Aquarians who are decidedly not social.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
ear Miracles: I first heard Kiva Rose’s name mentioned years ago when my mother and I were reading one of Loba’s columns in Sage Woman magazine. The Anima school and sanctuary sounded wild and wonderful and so very needed. Then years later I came across her work again in Plant Healer Magazine–and it wasn’t long before I wrote a couple of articles for that most excellent periodical. Kiva is a busy woman and I was delighted when she agreed to take some time and speak with me about plant magic and all that is wild.
In her own words: Herbalist, author, and wild creature, Kiva Rose lives in a canyon botanical sanctuary within the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. She is also the co-director of the HerbFolk Gathering, held each September in the mountain Southwest, is co-editor of Plant Healer Magazine, and maintains an herbal blog, The Medicine Woman’s Roots.
Find Kiva on the World Wide Web:
Who/What is a Plant Healer? Why this term instead of a term like Herbalist?
A Plant Healer is anyone who works with the plants for the purpose of healing. We chose this term in part because of its simplicity and because of the way it keeps the focus on the plants themselves. I am an herbalist because I love the plants, and feel called to matchmake between plants and people, hopefully facilitating new and deeper relationships among humans and herbs that brings healing for us, as well as inspiring us to take better care of the earth in the process.
One of the many contributions you have made to the plant loving community is a return to the notion of “folk herbalism”. How is folk herbalism different from what might be considered more “mainstream herbalism”, what are folk herbalists bringing to the table that has been missing in the community?
Basically, folk herbalism is technically defined as herbalism being practiced by non-professionals or lay people, often utilizing regional or handed down knowledge and perspectives. However, given the wide range of practitioners that currently identify as folk herbalists, I think it makes sense to broaden the definition to include professionals and non-professionals alike who practice an herbalism not currently accepted as valid by the Western biomedical industry and our culture in general.
Folk herbalism has always been here, and has long been represented by an incredible spectrum of practitioners. I personally use the terminology because I value both inclusivity and diversity within the healing community. I especially like the fact that folk herbalism embraces such a wide range of ideas and practices without insisting upon a false or forced homogeny.
You run a clinical practice, care for a beautiful wilderness area in Southern New Mexico, teach, write, publish some of the finest books and magazines on the plant path, and organize festive conferences and weekends of education for plant healers, you are also a mom and devoted partner…how do you do it all and what are your personal favorite herbal allies?
Thank you, Bri! I’ve found that it’s my nature to cycle through focusing on what most interests me at the time, and I find that working on so many projects allows me to move from seeing folks to creating art to writing to land restoration to teaching to solitary and family time in a way that allows me to feel both fulfilled and to keep many projects going at once. Also, my wonderful partner, Jesse Wolf Hardin, does an enormous amount and keeps everything on track and on schedule!
Many of my absolute favorite plants are from the genus Salvia, I adore all that I’ve met thus far! I’m very blessed to have two native species growing right here in the canyon where I live and many more nearby. Working with the less well known Sawtooth Sage, Salvia subincisa, was a profound experience in my early herbal studies. While I don’t know of anyone else working with this plant, it is a profound relaxant nervine that is specifically indicated when tremors are present with anxiety. It’s also a wonderful ally for those who have such sensitive nervous systems that even Lemon Balm can seem too stimulating. Back when I was first studying and practicing herbalism, I was also recovering from many years of insomnia, addiction, and abuse and dealing with a very fried and overstimulated nervous system. The Sawtooth Sage helped to heal my nervous system and allowed me to sleep and relax in ways I hadn’t experienced in decades. I especially like it combined with our local Skullcap for tension, anxiety, and insomnia.
In 2013 you launched the Bramble and Rose–a wonderful shop where folks can order perfumes, elixirs, balms, and oils, tell us about the Bramble and Rose and what inspired it?
Originally, The Bramble & The Rose was created as an outlet for my passion for creating botanical perfumes and body products, and my desire to share the medicine of aromatics with a wider audience. As time has passed, I’ve slowly been expanding it into a more complete woodland apothecary that includes elixirs, bio-regional incense, bitters blends, and certain single herbs abundant in my area. I’d been asked for many years to make more of my herbal preparations for sale, so I’m happy to fulfill this desire from the community while sharing many of my favorite plant allies!
Part of the profits from The Bramble & The Rose go to paying for the materials used to create the herbal formulas I provide to local clients in my tiny mountain village at little or no charge.
If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?
To keep your work at its foundation, and to focus on not straying from the source that ignited your passion to begin with. To work as healers of any kind we need to avoid being drained by what we do, and a bit part of that is being able to receive vital nourishment from the earth and work at a roots level. I know that, for me, it’s very easy to get caught up in what needs to be done, and to neglect the simple, sensual delights that first drew me to herbalism. By remembering to play with the plants, experiment with new remedies, and spending wordless time on wild land, I am sustained and replenished in a circle of healing I am honored to be included in.
ear Miracles: We are still in January and for many of us there is still a strong drive to create lasting prosperity in this New Year. The trick, of course, is knowing how one might best go about creating that prosperity. Here are some of my favorite tricks and tips to feather your nest and, maybe, if you are lucky, discover a golden egg!
1.) New Year=New Wallet. If last year’s cash flow was not all it could have been, why don’t you spend some money on getting a brand new wallet? Your wallet or billfold is the home where your money lives — you want it to be a home fitting for lots of cash, right?
Choose a color that is traditionally associated with prosperity and abundance like green (for money cash and growth), red (for power and authority in the world of personal finance and beyond), royal blue (the planetary color associated with abundance creating Jupiter), or yellow/gold (for um, more gold!)
2.) Dress 3 $100 bills with a prosperity enhancing sachet powder and place them in your wallet. When we carry larger bills like Benjamins or even $50’s, we are less likely to break them which translates to less likely to spend on frivolous items.
3.) If possible, get a wallet that has a change purse and use your change frequently – leave it as tips, hand it out to panhandlers — moving change in and out of your wallet keeps the current of money moving in your life.
4.) Take all non essential cards, especially credit cards out of your wallet for daily use. If you don’t have access to your cards you can’t use them. Bam!
5.) Put a tiny lodestone in your wallet to attract and draw more money.
6.) Put a tiny piece of iron pyrite in your wallet OR a piece of real gold. Even a gold earring will work because like attracts like.
7.) Sprinkle sassafras and cinquefoil (five finger grass) in the area where your paper money goes–a pinch works great. Sassafras has long been worked with to make each dollar stretch and cinquefoil is believed not only to bless all that your five fingers do but also to encourage others to favor you.
8.) Choose one area to work on when it comes to financial health. Do you need to draw more in the way of income or lower existing debt? Make a plan of action that includes PRACTICAL steps for you to do. Dedicate a section of your home to this work and only this work.