Where do our prayers go?

Lunar Letter


Dear Miracles,

As lovers of the sacred arts – people who dream magic and dance and weave, tell stories and sing together – we are lovers of something we feel is much broader, more luminous, higher or deeper, something more meaningful and more wholesome, than the affairs of a dusty and dim political world, a world so deeply scarred and fractured, as it sometimes seems, beyond repair. If we could live on the Isle of the Blessed, far away from the squalid disputes and the daily strife, how many of us would not choose to do so at once?  (Indeed sometimes you will find me preferring to live under a Magic Mushroom, with a good book of course.) But the scarred and fractured world is our world. It is the one world we have. And it requires our love – especially the love of those of us who are lovers of the sacred arts.

Who better to teach us about these matters than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?  In his Letter From Birmingham Jail, which I encourage you to read, Dr. King articulates the four steps for any nonviolent political campaign. Those four steps are:

1.    Collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist
2.    Negotiation
3.    Self-purification
4.    Direct action

An essential part of self-purification is self-examination. If I am physically threatened during a campaign, will I hit back? Do I have the inner strength to stand my ground, and in standing my ground, most importantly am I prepared to turn the other cheek? If I can put myself to the test, and say in all seriousness “yes, I am prepared to turn the other cheek” then I am ready for the campaign. If I cannot honestly affirm this, I have still have work to do.

On the basis of what Dr. King argues in his Letter, I suspect that he understood prayer to play a significant role in the process of self-examination.

This is because prayer here is much more than a mere entreaty to obtain something. We put ourselves to the test. Prayer and blessing calls us out. By praying, we are expressing a desire not to hide, but to lay our cards on the table, to get real, to be honest with ourselves and with others, and to get with it.

The upshot is that direct action occurs long before any picket line is created or protest signs are made.  Prayer in this sense has a direct action all of its own, in the truest sense of the word, it is an action that works directly on us.

In other words, prayer and blessing that is only externally directed is not prayer or blessing at all. There is no blessing way in that. When tragedy strikes the understandable reaction among people of all stripes – among religious people and even among people who do not identify as religious – is to pray for a better outcome, to pray for healing, pray for light (even though sometimes what is actually called for is healing darkness), pray for love (even though what might be more useful is clear-eyed discernment), to pray and then…do nothing, change nothing, learn nothing.

As the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “the function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”  Prayers must go inwards too. They must put ourselves to the test, strike at the roots of who we are, what we think, what we say, how we treat one another and how we live.

In a world in which sometimes seems like a runaway train, these are the results – this is the action – that truly makes a difference.  May it be so!

And, for those of you who would like to get in on some group blessing, I am performing a FREE community altar for La Señora Guadalupe on her feast day, December 12th. Learn about her and send in a petition to be included in our family altar by going here.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

New Moon Notes: Scorpio Edition

Astro RX


he dark and luscious Scorpio New Moon arrives in all of her glory on November 11th and there is a lovely trine with Pluto and Jupiter which makes this a great time to continue our theme of Milk, Honey, Wealth and Money – although with the Scorpio flavor one would do well to focus on investments and inheritances as opposed to Taurus-ruled cash flow.

Useful questions to reflect upon (and perhaps divine upon) under Luna’s influence include:



  • What attitudes, beliefs, opinions and actions have I inherited from my family and community when it comes to money? (For more on this I highly recommend Fabeku’s Teletastic on UnF#&*ing your Money)
  • What does “investment” mean to me?
  • When I do decide to invest in something where do I put my resources and how do I show up?
  • What are the parts of my inheritance and lineage that I would rather not look at or deal with and how can I support myself in acknowledging their presence?

And now for some New Moon news…

Adventures in Soulful Seeking~

It has been busy at Casa Milagro Roots. I am getting ready to play auntie to my little sister’s first baby, we have been celebrating and feasting with our ancestors, and of course throwing a big Halloween bash for friends, family, and neighbors.

A lot of people think that if you miss Halloween/Samhain/Dia de los Muertos celebrations you miss the chance to connect with your ancestors. Not true. I find this liminal time of year from now until around January 1st to be a wonderful time to remember, bless and be blessed by our beloved dead. For those who want the full scoop on honoring Ancestors, check out my Evening with the Ancestors class. And if you would like some pointers on how to do an Ancestor-informed Tarot reading, go spend time with this post.

Over 200 folks joined in for a luminous community altar service on October 27th – I had so much fun doing this that I have decided to create another – this time it is for writers of words and those ready to find their true voice. Come join us in Here Be Dragons.

The Miracle Tree Sessions has closed for 2016 registration but you can still download the first lesson of the first module right here for free – my two most favorite daily practices are included in this teaching.

Out and About

Theresa and I will wrap up another fabulous year of Talking Shop shows on November 25th at 8pm cdt. Come join us for this end of the year wrap up! And never miss a Talking Shop show again – subscribe on iTunes today.

I LOVE the idea of best friends coming together to create a tiny town. This one is happening in Llano, Texas which is a beautiful area in the Texas Hill Country – neat!

In the mood for more feel good magic that also packs a punch? I highly recommend Randi Buckley’s Healthy Boundaries for Kind People course. I got to talk to Randi a couple of months ago on Talking Shop and I love her and her work – boundaries are a tough subject for so many people and I know Randi’s teachings are wise, kind, and honest.

This is a funny little piece that I came across last month. Within the humor I see something that I see more and more of: how the sacred arts are gently and firmly reasserting their role in the greater culture.

Still not ready to let Halloween go? Terri has written some wonderful articles on her blog Myth and Moor about the season.

Start with this one about the death of the year.

Then read this one about the folklore surrounding the connection between Hares and Witches.

Finish it off with a beautiful piece on Feeding one’s Daemon. (Those of you who have taken Beyond the Hedge will especially appreciate this piece).

In Spinning Gold this month we are working with the story of the Baba Yaga and young Vassilisa. This story is like many of the scarier fairy tales out there – one that has much to teach! For those in Spinning Gold (and for those who love the Baba Yaga) here is a fine poem by Midori Snyder and her daughter on the mysterious character.

Hoping you have a beautiful and blessed November!

In love and service,


magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to create an Ancestor-informed Tarot Reading

Hearth and Home


ow is the time of year that many of us feel drawn closer and closer to the liminal, the medial, all that is ‘betwixt and between.’

For my part, I have found that the period roughly from Samhain (pronounced Sowen) on October 31st until New Years Eve on January 1st is a pause between the old and the new. For me, the time between the ending of one year and the beginning of a new year, is like the time between conception and birth, the space and pause between breathing out and breathing in. It is a time for gathering the internal resources to be able to truly call out, proclaim, celebrate or welcome the new year.

A large number of my ancestors understood October 31st to mark the end of the calendar year. Feasts were prepared and ancestors were consulted as tribes and communities prepared to enter into the dark season of the year when faeries, ghosts, but also miracles and saints were believed to walk among the living. Across an ocean and in a new land, another group of ancestors marked January 1st as the beginning of the calendar year – and handed down a number of revelries, divinations, and charms to celebrate and validate the transition from old to new.

What I have found is that my ancestors, though they came from many different parts of the world, spoke many different tongues, and all looked different (from each other and from me), also each had an understanding and insight that has been handed down from one pair of hardworking hands to the next until it was given to me. Part of that understanding is how to work with and view this particular time of year.

The nature of this time of year is liminal. If we know how to attune to it, we find ourselves able to concourse with a realm beyond time and beyond space. As such it is the perfect opportunity to do what so many cultures and tribes and peoples from around the world have done and continue to do – speak to the Dead, the Invisible, the Unseen, with an eye to the Living. The ways of doing this are myriad.

Here is a simple divination I performed this year in consulting with my own Beloved Dead, and I thought it might be of use for some of you.

Build an ancestor altar, and devote your time and loving attention to it.

I started by building our ancestor altar. The process commenced at the beginning of October right after Michaelmas. On the evening of November 1st we prepared the traditional foods and drinks that our beloved ones loved in life, and offered them up along with plenty of incense and candle light to help our old ones find their way to their temporary home. That first night we sat quietly together and remembered our beloved dead. We spoke to our little one who is four and who naturally understood that the hot chocolate and pan de muerto were supposed to be shared among the living and the dead. I thanked our ancestors for watching over us and guiding us throughout this past year and for being the strong shoulders upon which I stand. In this first night of bittersweet celebration there was no asking, but simply offering up good things and saying thank you.

Before the sun rises, get your cards, ask for assistance and get down to business.

On the morning of November 2nd I got up bright and early before the sun rose. I fixed a cup of strong coffee and chocolate for myself and offered one to the ancestors and then I sat down with a couple of talismans, my prayer shawl, and my cards to get down to business. I blessed all of the ancestors and then asked them to assist me in getting information for my family to better engage with our next year.

Major Arcana

Begin with the Major Arcana. Because this is a family matter, I pull cards not only for myself but for my loved ones too. This and one other time of year are the only times when I divine for our entire family.

Pull one major arcana card for each family member you are going to read for. The question that I hold in my heart when I do this is: what do I most need to know/what does X most need to know as we head into another year?

Remember that the major arcana cards are invitations. Ask yourself: Does the card present energy and understanding that you want to step into or is it something that you need to step out of?

For married couples you may pull one major for each individual and then a third for the relationship.

Minor Arcana

Then onto practical matters. Traditionally divination, especially at this time of the year is meant to be practical and concrete. So I turn my attention to the minor arcana.

After pulling the minor arcana card, I pull four more for each person I am reading for. They are laid out in a line and are read as first, second, third, and fourth quarter of the upcoming year. This allows the cards to be taken on their own but also placed in context so that a story can be told with them. If there is a card that needs more explanation then pull a fifth card to attain that information.

Don’t forget the BIG questions!

Finally, if there are BIG questions that the entire family is concerned with – projects, endeavors, big choices, you may ask about them directly and pull one card (I pull from the minor arcana with an eye to practical wisdom) for each question.

In my own practice, the divination lasts as long as the sun has not risen. Once the sun is up the session is over. I make a note of the cards I received for myself and for anyone else who wanted me to read for them, and then I go back to sitting with my ancestors, thanking them for the presence and their patience with me.

On the night of November 2nd we will have a final celebration where I will make more foods that are beloved by our way back people, load up the altar with more offerings, and then on the morning of November 3rd we will prepare to say farewell, for now.

I will hold the images and messages received in the early morning divination close to heart and mind over the next two months. I will dream, peer at the upcoming astrological transits, tell stories, remember stories that were told to me, go for walks with my beloved, laugh with my little boy, and listen above all. I will listen as the sun dips lower earlier, the wind caresses leaves and bare branches, and the squirrels with their mouths full of pecans scurry across our rooftops. I will listen to the ones who have gone before me and who see beyond me, and a little bit each day I will weave the story of my next year into being, carrying it with me wherever I go, listening and participating in other traditions of spying signs and celebrating the unseen, and preparing for all of the gatherings yet to come.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Want a magical fix that works forever? Then do this.

Learning and Community


ear Miracles,

Many within the sacred arts community turn to ritual and ceremony whenever difficulties are experienced. We also work with ritual and ceremony in other contexts as well – to mark seasons and important days or festivals for our holy ones, to celebrate successes and victories, to simply give thanks and gratitude.  In all cases, we ask ourselves what kind of magic and miracle-making, what kind of ritual or ceremony, might adequately address the situation?

Not one thing is wrong with this approach, and I firmly believe that marking our difficulties and our successes with ritual is a wise thing to do. But we often miss one initial step that, although small, is of great use. It is the step of directing our magic making, our ritual intention, inward first.

Let’s use a concrete example to illustrate this point. Say that I have a relationship with someone I care deeply about, but the connection has been on the fritz lately. We cross words with one another, rub each other the wrong way, and offend each other with each attempt to “make it better”.  I could decide to do some work to sweeten the relationship, so that we might be kinder to each other. Perhaps I create a sugar jar or I light a devotional candle for this purpose. Well and good. But before assembling my material magica, before thinking about what petition I want to write and what prayers I would like to say, I need to do one thing first. We are watching a lot of Star Wars in my house right now, so I am going to borrow the phrase from George Lucas – I need to search my heart.

Perhaps in this specific situation I have a long history of jealousy around this person.  Maybe I feel like they always get the breaks while I am always stuck with hard work. Maybe I really love them, but I – in some small or not so small way – resent them. Can I perform a ritual or ceremony to create peace and harmony in the relationship without dealing with those feelings of jealousy and resentment? Sure. Will the work be effective? It might be effective – but only for awhile and to a certain extent. Will the work have long lasting and deep results if I have not dealt with my own internal state first? Not a chance.

I often tell my students and clients to “get their soul house in order”. It is an idea I encountered in the writings of Confucius, whose claim is that before one goes about telling others how to order their homes, one should make sure that their own home is in order. Or, as my mom used to say, when you point a finger there are three fingers pointing back at you. It is easy and tempting to reserve our ritual and ceremonies, and really all of our sacred arts practices, for dealing with external situations only. In the Miracle Tree Sessions we work with this concept throughout the year and the magic that is made as a result has much greater depth and staying power. What would happen if we actually directed some of our concentration and devotion towards our own internal state of affairs? More clarity, deeper wisdom, and much less wasted time.


magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Rock a Retrograde: Mercury RX in Gemini

Astro RX

black and white close up of the surface of mercury

Mercury goes retrograde in the sign of Gemini from May 18th until June 11th. Longtime readers of mine know that I actually enjoy Mercury Retrograde, in fact for this one I have a longish list of home organization projects that I cannot wait to get started on (hello, Container Store).

But this time around I should not be alone because whenever Mercury is in Gemini it is extremely happy, or in classical astro-speak, exalted, which means that even for those of you who are usually quite effected by Mercury RX this should be a, somewhat, smoother ride. (If ALL Mercury retrogrades have you shaking in your boots then you should get in on the Mercury RX Survival Kit stat!)

Every Mercury in retrograde has the theme of reassessing and reviewing communication, writing, messages, and correspondence among other things. But each Mercury in retrograde also has a specific “flavor” given to it by the zodiac sign Mercury goes retrograde in. So here are the most essential aspects to keep in mind for our upcoming Mercury RX in Gemini.


1.) Review your learning opportunities and engagements. Gemini is the sign of learning and students so this is a great time to consider what classes and courses you have signed up for as well as what learning opportunities you might want to engage in as we go forward.

Those who are in school from pre-K to college can benefit from some academic magic-making. If you have fallen behind in a given area of study this is a great time to catch up! If you have questions or feel that you need better engagement with the material then now is the time to make that happen. And if you are feeling a bit blah in your educational pursuits (or lack thereof) this is a great time to look at what learning opportunities are available right now. Note: This is not a good time to actually sign up for a class or apply for school. If you have to do so make sure that you follow up with a phone call and make sure that all application materials and registration fees landed where they were supposed to.


2.) Reconnect to acquaintances and friends. Gemini, like her sister Air signs of Libra and Aquarius, is a social butterfly. Close friendships and siblings or sibling-like relationships are all take care of by this sign. So if you have been MIA for your BFF now is a really good time to pick up the phone, write a letter, or send a quick text to let your bestie know that you have not taken off for good. For those with siblings this is a great time to reassess that relationship – are you spending enough or too much time together? Are there conflicts in need of resolution, do you need to let your sib know that you love them and are thinking about them? Get on it.


3.) Recollect your message. One of the deeper teachings of Gemini is that we all carry a message, one that is unique to us and needs to be shared with our communities, whether that is a few close friends and family members or the entire world. During this Mercury RX take some time to hone in on your message…what do you stand for and how do your words reflect your principles and ideals?


Remember to keep a calm head before, during, and after the retrograde period. There is a lot of scare-mongering out there on the interwebs but this time is a much needed in-breath and pause, allowing us to re-charge and re-vitalize ourselves before swinging into the fullness and business of the next few months.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Read this the next time you decide magic doesn’t work for you

Inspired and Inspirited


ear Miracles: This post was inspired by conversation I had with the ever-so talented Aidan of Tveir Hrafnar.

When the ex that you prayed and hoped would return to you didn’t, only to turn around and hurt someone else in the exact same way they hurt you? Prayer was answered.

When the once in a lifetime job fell through, even though you created a beautiful ritual to make sure it happened, but then you met your beloved and started an affair that required you to move two states away? Magic happened.

When you made ceremony to create real and lasting change in your life…and then had to hold on tight for a wild and rowdy ride? You witnessed a miracle.

For sacred artists it is all too easy to blame magic for all the times it seems to fall through and fail. And it is really easy to forget about all of the moments, often hidden, often overlooked, where it succeeds beyond our wildest dreams.


Honor your magic and it will honor you.


magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

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


ear 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 full moons each month.