Animalia Stellarum ~ Pisces the Fish

Divination and Dreams

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quarius took us into the depths and introduced us to the monster Typhon. Now that story continues but this time it is not Pan who turns into a fish but two completely different characters.

Pisces is the 12th and final sign in the zodiacal wheel, attuned to the element of Water and is a mutable sign ruled by Neptune. The Sun is in Pisces from February 18 through March 20. Mutable signs speak to our ability to be flexible, accommodating, receptive, and extend out towards others. Mutable signs also speak to transition periods and it is during the sign of Pisces that we begin to transition from deep Winter into early Spring in the Norther Hemisphere and late Summer into early Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

Fish as Animal: By Sara Magnuson

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls,
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me ~ chorus from Joy to the World by Three Dog Night

Joy to the Fishes, indeed, for it is in the otherworld of the oceans that life on our planet came to exist. In the evolution of creatures it is the Fish that links us to primordial times, like the cord that ties together the two Fishes of Pisces. It is also fitting that the Fishes represent the end of the zodiacal wheel and where it connects back to the beginning – a never-ending loop, always in the present and always connected to the archetypal legacies of the heavens.

When we consider creatures that have been around, in some form, as long as the Fishes, we must also think of the Birds. Birds can fly through the air and navigate space in a way that we are not built to understand. Like Birds, Fish “fly” through the water, also living in a realm that we are not built to understand.

Acknowledge the world of a Fish for a moment – living in this liquid space, feeling the changes in pressure as it swims toward the surface or dives deep, sensing the currents like wind. It takes a completely different, very specialized kind of body to exist in this watery world.

The word “fish” is a very broad term, so what exactly are we talking about here. Fish are technically defined as “gill-bearing aquatic creatures with a skull and primary nerve cord that lack limbs with digits.” They are cold blooded Animals, meaning their body temperature is regulated by outside sources and very little internal heat is generated. They have a four-chambered heart (like humans) that pumps blood in a single loop through the body (unlike humans). Fish are found in all aquatic environments – salt water, fresh water, brackish, etc.

Just as Birds are designed with wings and feathers to be aerodynamic, Fish are covered with scales to allow for hydrodynamic movement. Other creatures also have scales, like Snakes, but Reptile scales are born from the surface of the skin, the epidermis, and Fish scales come from the dermis layer, much deeper within. You can think of a Fish’s scales as you would the development of your hair and teeth. For the Fish, scales provide protection for their physical body, as well as facilitating smooth movement in the water. Fish’s fins (i.e. their “limbs”) function much in the same way as a Bird’s wings, allowing it to propel and direct its movement. The scales of Fish’s body ask us to consider our own forms of emotional and spiritual protection, and to examine how deeply they are rooted.

An amazing aspect of Fish is its ability to breathe oxygen under water. Yes, Fish breathe oxygen, like humans, they just get it in a different way. The gills of Fish are made up of filaments and capillaries that create a huge surface area to extract oxygen from the water molecules. The act of swimming, moving through the space, forces water through their gills and keeps the process going. Fish can also “flap” their fins to push water across their gills while remaining still, a kind of hovering, which brings us to how Fish sleep. They don’t have eyelids so it appears that Fish is always awake, always moving, however we know that this is not true. Through observation, we know that Fish do take time to rest and enter into a form of stasis. How long and how often depends on the particular Fish. Keeping the water moving across their gills is an involuntary act; like our own heartbeat, they don’t have to remember to do it. In this way, Fish asks us to consider our unconscious behaviors and habits. Fish is there to guide us through times of internal exploration and reminds us of the importance of self-care and rest, no matter how it may appear to others.

Most Fish exhibit male or female reproductive characteristics, although there are exceptions, but their courting rituals are not quite the same as other Animals; in fact, the sexual life of a Fish is not particularly exciting. They typically reproduce when the female releases eggs and the male releases sperm into the water and hope they mix. Any courting, by male or female, is displayed for the purpose of drawing the potential mate near the area of the water they deposited their respective sex cells and pray that the other wants to deposit their own. The (hopefully) fertilized eggs are left to their own devices to develop, be born, and fend for themselves. Fish are not nurturing parents; they don’t stay around waiting for the babies to hatch and generally cannot identify their own offspring. This sexual and parental behavior, or lack thereof, speaks to the tendency of Fish to seem detached, far-away, or spacey. As we will see, Fish are not prone to forming individual attachments, but rather function at the extremes – in large groups or as solitary creatures.

Living in the otherworldly realm of water gives Fish some unique sensory abilities. They generally have a good sense of vision and smell, but they don’t hear like other creatures. Rather than hearing in the traditional sense, Fish have a sensory structure connected to their skin, called the lateral line, that works in a similar manner as the inner ear of humans. The lateral line provides spatial awareness and orientation and allows them to detect vibrations in the movement and currents of the water. The function of the lateral line directs their feeding and hunting practices, and affects social behaviors. In order to swim, Fish also possess specialized sensory organs that regulate buoyancy and detect water pressure. There are tens of thousands of different types of Fish, so it’s no surprise that some have developed other unique senses that serve their specific lifestyle, such as the detection of electrical impulses and different types of light. Awareness of how Fish senses the world teaches us about finding and accepting our own unique way of understanding and interpreting our environment. Fish asks us to be open, receptive, and non-judgmental of our individuality.

The behaviors of Fish are extremely diverse. Similar to variations in our own personalities, some Fish are aggressive and some are passive, some are loners and some must live in groups, some are predators and some are prey, some are highly intelligent and some are dumb as rocks. Two social behaviors that almost all Fish participate in at some point in their life cycle are the acts of shoaling and schooling. Sometimes Fish will swim together in a loose grouping, where they are acting fairly independently of each other but are close enough to stay connected, called shoaling. Schooling is when a group of Fish swim together in the same direction and in a coordinated way. Both of these behaviors provide protection from predators, better luck finding food and a mate, and help them save energy while swimming together (much like Birds flying in formation to utilize air currents most effectively). The act of schooling is a mysterious sight to observe, as it requires a highly coordinated effort of synchronized movements between individuals that are not vocalizing to each other. This aspect of Fish asks us to consider how we are or are not connected to others; how we are or are not utilizing and participating in community; where and when nurturing our connectedness serves our greater desires.

Most all Fish partake in some form of migration, whether near or far, for the purpose of reproduction, spawning, or finding food. Some Fish make small migrations daily and some cover vast expanses on an annual basis. The interesting thing about Fish migration is that, like Birds, they use the earth’s magnetic field to navigate. This process is still not very well understood, but we know that they are connected to the earth even if they never touch the ground.

The Fishes of Pisces live in an unknowable world, sensitive to things many of us cannot fathom. These places of depth and mystery are where Pisces thrives. The Fishes of Pisces, and the cord that connects them, show us where the pull of our uniqueness meets the collective consciousness; how we can explore our internal landscape beneath the surface while not getting lost at sea; and help us discern when we need the support of community and when we need solitude to function at our best.

Fish As Pisces: By Briana Saussy

piscesAs we turn our attention to Pisces it is a given that we will work closely with the element of Water and the fish nature of the final sign in the zodiac. However, there is more to Pisces than watery depths. In Babylon part of the constellation was called the Lady of Heaven, one of many epithets for Ishtar who brought the gifts of culture including ritual, magic, agriculture, and writing to her people. This early understanding of Pisces is relevant because the sign’s association with the Lady of Heaven underscores its relationship to synthesis. The way that C.G. Jung spoke about Pisces is that, as the 12th sign of the zodiac, it has received the lessons and gifts of all of the other signs.

Wherever Pisces occurs in your chart is most likely an area where you are able to make deep and vast connections – often between things that at first glance might seem entirely disconnected.

Moving from Babylon we enter into the star stories of Ancient Greece where the constellation of Pisces was understood to be Aphrodite and Eros escaping from the monster Typhon (whom we encountered in Capricorn). To recap: 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.

Whereas in the tale of Capricorn the drama around Typhon involves transformation and struggle, in the tale of Pisces the drama involves connection and escape. Here we have a powerful and primal source that seeks to vanquish both Love and Desire. In order to escape and not be devoured, Love and Desire must both go under the waves, under the waters, and into the depths.

This is exactly what Pisces does as well. Those born under this sign or those who have this sign prominently placed in their charts often choose to escape into the watery depths themselves. The depths may be the music that Pisces plays, the art Pisces makes, or the dreams that often feel more real than waking life to Pisces.

Like the preceding sign, Aquarius, Pisces can sometimes appear aloof or uninterested in what is “actually happening” but unlike Aquarius, Pisces does not appear this way because it is preoccupied with mental brilliance and what is possible; rather Pisces feels deeply and instinctively knows that in order for the forces of Love and Desire to live in the world and remain intact, submergence and escape from the world is sometimes necessary. With Pisces there is both a deepening and softening of the qualities of Love and Desire, just as Aphrodite and her child Eros dived down into the waves so must we.

piscesThe presence of Aphrodite and Eros also clues us into some of the natural powers of Pisces – this sign influences our ability to be in harmony with ourselves and with others, to acknowledge and affirm our true desires, and to bring beauty into the world in every way possible. Escapism is an attribute that Pisces is often accused of engaging in and this is where the cord or lasso that binds Aphrodite and Eros together becomes so essential to the story.

In a practical manner the cord connects both figures to each other so that they are not lost to one another. Love that lacks Desire is cold and empty while Desire without Love has no solid root stock from which to grow. Eros is of course the child of Aphrodite so this also speaks to our connection to our legacy…when we go into the depths to do our work, to heal from whatever needs to be healed, to find more beauty and bring it up and into the world, we would do well to remember that we do this as a part of the legacy that we leave in the world rather than at the expense of it. The cord of connection also does not allow either figure to fully escape, fully be pulled down to the bottom of the sea; instead its presence reminds both that they will and must emerge once more – hopefully far away from the force of destruction that threatens them.

Magically speaking cords and lassos are worked with to connect and to bind; specifically the work of binding an individual to the things, people, and values that matter most to them. This ability to fix ourselves to what matters most is one of the challenges we find in the sign of Pisces, but also the single act that best prevents us from becoming lost in our own oceanic depths. Pisces is often spoken of as the sign that feels more and more deeply than any other (Virgo and Scorpio beg to differ on that, though). The ocean is a frequently called upon metaphor to convey the literal depth of feeling that this sign experiences. But one of the teachings of Pisces is that just because you feel something strongly, that does not make it necessarily true – knowing what really does matter most is the support that allows Pisces to emerge once more.

There is one more story associated with this constellation, my favorite kind, a fairy tale, and it speaks to one of strongest impulses we find in the Fish. In my research I saw that this story is attributed to Germanic origin, but I have encountered versions from Mexico, India, Italy, Greece, Eastern Europe, various locales around the Arctic circle, Japan, and China – basically anywhere you have a fishing economy you will have a version of this tale. It goes like this:

piscesOnce upon a time there was a very poor fisherman who lived in a metal tub with his wife, for they were so poor that they did not even have money for a meager cottage. The fisherman was a kind and good man and his wife was always yelling at him and haranguing him. He did his best to make her happy while acknowledging that no matter what he did she would never be fully satisfied.

Now it happened that one day the fisherman went out onto the water and caught a large, beautiful fish. Imagine his surprise when he hauled the fish onto the deck of his little boat and the fish cried out in pain, “Oh, oh, oh, the hook it hurts me so!

The fisherman was appalled and immediately removed the hook from the fish and set it free back into the water. The fish then turned around and said to the fisherman, “You are a good and kind man to release me so and not eat me. In return for your mercy I shall grant you a wish, any wish you want, what shall it be?

The fisherman shook his head smiling and assured the fish that this was not necessary – he was happy to let the fish live its life in peace and was only sorry for any pain he may have caused it. The fish was even more delighted with this second selfless act and so told the fisherman that should he ever change his mind he could come back to the lake and call for the fish and the fish would come back and grant a wish.

Well, the fishermen went home and his wife threw the biggest fit you have ever seen. She screamed and cussed and yelled at the poor man who was such a fool and told him to go back to the water and ask the fish to give them a beautiful home with lots of money and plenty of fine things. The poor man was terribly embarrassed but he did as she asked and the fish emerged from the waters and granted the fisherman’s wish so that when he returned home he returned not to a metal tub but instead to a golden castle.

Thinking that this was the end of it, the fisherman settled down to enjoy life but his wife was not satisfied. She goaded him, nagged at him, and mocked him until he went back to the waters and asked the fish for a second wish. Imagine the fisherman’s surprise when the fish emerged with a few less scales and a small wound that seeped a bit of blood.

Upon inquiring what had harmed the fish, the fisherman learned that this was the cost of granting his wish, the fish had paid for it in literal flesh and blood. But the fish took great pains to assure him that it was fine, only a little wound and one that would heal quickly. Then the fish asked why the fisherman had returned and called for it. The fisherman hemmed and hawed and finally admitted that his wife was not satisfied and would like a second wish; this time she wanted to be Queen in their country. He hated to ask, surely he did not want to harm the fish, and yet if he did not his wife would be ever so angry.

The fish simply said, “It is done, go back to your home.” and then disappeared into the depths. The fishermen did go home and once there discovered that he and his wife were indeed King and Queen of their country.

And so he thought that it would surely end there – what else was there to want? Yet his wife was still not satisfied and crowed out to the heavens that her husband would have no rest or quarter until she was Queen of the UNIVERSE!!! Head hanging down and hat in hand, the fisherman went to the waters once more. He called for the fish and when it emerged he saw it was bleeding heavily from a much larger wound and that it had lost many of its beautiful silver scales.

He relayed his wife’s wish to the fish and the fish sighed in sorrow and then told the fisherman to go home. The fisherman did and upon his arrival found that he and his wife truly were the rulers of the entire universe.

As such he was able to see the waters where the fish lived, able to see the blood running like a red river from the fish’s body, able to watch as the last silver scales fell to the bottom of the sea and the fish finally died. And immediately upon its death all of the gold and jewels, the crowns an scepters vanished and all that was left was a poor fisherman, his angry wife, and the metal tub which they called home.

As I said, this fairy tale speaks to several of the deepest aspects of Pisces and they are – a compulsion to redeem and save, a need to please people, and a willingness to sacrifice oneself. We see all three themes at work in the story: the fisherman saves the fish and also seems to want to redeem his wife in some manner, the fisherman is constantly trying to please his wife (and does not see how unworthy she is of such attention), and the fish itself gives up its life to make someone else happy. Pisces can develop a savior complex and must be reminded of the essential roles that self-care and standing up for what they believe in and they think is right, play in their lives.

Call on Pisces When:

  • You need to be more thoughtful, sensitive, and aware of other people’s feelings.
  • You are learning a new form of art such as music, painting, sculpture, dance, drawing or design.
  • You wish to learn from the past and put it into proper perspective.
  • You need to engage more fully with your dreams and nourish your dream life.
  • You want to make connections between various aspects of your life; you are ready to synthesize.
  • You are ready to develop your psychic abilities.
  • You need to infuse your work with more depth, beauty, and creativity.
  • You wish to help.
  • You want to cultivate a deeper relationship with beauty.
  • You need to come into right relationship with your deep feelings and emotions.
  • You wish for deeper connection.
  • You are ready to be a force of redemption in the world.

Be Wary Of

  • Addictions of all kinds – Losing oneself in the depths is something to take figuratively and literally with this sign. Pisces and Scorpio are the two zodiac signs most strongly connected to addictions.
  • Escapism – Sometimes Pisces forgets to lasso itself to something or someone else and tries to escape the world completely. This can lead to (on the milder side) overlooking important, practical needs and (on the stronger side) moments of “breaking” from reality all together.
  • Being too acquiescent – As a mutable sign it is easy for Pisces to say YES! Whatever you want! While that can make the fish popular, as we saw in the story above, it is not always good for the fish – Pisces must learn the art of setting boundaries.
  • Overly high standards – Pisces has a vision of what can be, and usually the visions is pretty terrific. When the “real world” and people in it fail to live up to that vision it can leave the fish feeling hollowed out and empty, so it is good to remember that reality is not a bad word.
  • Self-doubt – One of the old ways to describe the 12th house in the zodiac is the house of self-imprisonment; Pisces finds it easy to believe in almost anything…except themselves.

Questions to Ponder:

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

  • What aspects of my life need to be brought together, what is my overarching theme?
  • What beauty am I creating?
  • What do I serve?
  • How do I help?
  • What would happen if I asserted myself more strongly?
  • What depths do I long to sink into?
  • What are my dreams telling me?
  • How can I bring my visions of what is possible more fully into my waking life?
  • What is my lineage?

Active Imagination Journey:

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 sun-dappled path through a beautiful wood. It is a warm, pleasant afternoon, quiet and still and peaceful. You are carrying a small sack with you but its contents are not of concern. You know that what’s in the sack is important to you and that you must keep it with you. It is not too heavy and not too light and you stroll down the path with ease, breathing deeply. Notice your steps, your heartbeat, and your breath all in rhythm together.

The path begins to open up and you find yourself at the edge of the wood looking toward a smooth, glassy lake. There is a small island out in the center of the lake and you know that is where you must go. Make your way to the edge of the lake and step into the water; feel it gently lapping at your ankles. The water is temperate and calm and clear. Whether you are a good swimmer or not, you feel safe and comfortable moving deeper into the lake. You put the sack around you and begin to swim the short distance to the small island. You swim with the ease of a fish and you effortlessly make your way to the shore of the island.*

You emerge from the lake and walk up to a dry place on the shore of the island. Sit down and observe. Observe the span of lake you just crossed and the forest on the other side. Observe the shore that you’re sitting on and the sights, smells, and sounds of the small island. Observe that you are separated from the mainland, separated from your day-to-day worries and troubles, separated from your aches and pains, separated from the minutia of tasks and chores. Observe that it is quiet and peaceful. Take a moment to let your mind be still.

Now consider the sack you brought with you. Inside is an object that represents the thing you feel most tethered to, whether good or bad. Open the sack and remove the object. Hold it in your hands without judgment. Feel its weight and shape and consider what it represents.

Take a moment to meditate on the purpose of the object. Is it something you want to be tethered to? Is it something you should be tethered to? Is it a representation of the thing that is most important to you? Or is it something you do not want to be tethered to? Is it a representation of something you need to let go of? Is the object necessary in your life? Is it something practical that helps you? Or is it something that is no longer needed?

As you sit with the object and contemplate its purpose and function in your life, look out across the lake. Remember the perspective you have, sitting on this small island, separate from the mainland and all your troubles, pains, and duties; separate from all the influences in your life telling you what to do. Remember that you are here to discern what to do with this object and the decision is yours and your alone.

If you decide that this object represents something you do not want to be tethered to, dig a hole on the shore and bury it, leaving it behind for the island to absorb. If you decide that this object represents something you do want to remain tethered to, return it to the sack. When you feel ready, you step back into the lake and feel it gently lapping at your ankles. The water is temperate and calm and clear. You feel safe and comfortable moving deeper into the water and begin to swim the short distance to return. You swim with the ease of a fish and you effortlessly make your way to the shore of the mainland.*

As you step out of the water onto the land, give yourself a moment to look out across the lake to the the island you came from. Express your gratitude for the ability to move your body through the water and for the clarity that the island provided you.

When you are ready, begin walking back on the sun-dappled path through the beautiful wood. It is a warm, pleasant afternoon, quiet and still and peaceful. Notice your steps, your heartbeat and your breath all 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.

*if you have phobias around water or swimming that keep you from visualizing this, imagine that there is a small, safe boat for you to get to and from the island.

Altar/Ritual: Making a Spirit Cord

This is an adaptation of a practice taken from Bri’s course on magic and fairy tales, Spinning Gold.

Ropes, spirit cords, ritual belts and, as they are called in Currendera tradition, lassos, are sacred tools and ritual talismans that assist us as we meditate and engage with the Otherworld in very specific and helpful ways.

For many newcomers to magical work it is an odd idea that something as innocuous as a piece of string, fabric, or leather could have the ability to serve as a physical catalyst for rapid and deep transformation, but it can.

The spirit cord or lasso has the ability to connect past, present, and future and can be worked with in a ceremonial manner not only to connect your past, present, and future, but also to connect you to Ancestors who are no longer among the living, and Descendants (including creative, metaphorical, progeny) that will come into being in the future.

You may also work with your cord to connect to specific places, objects, and people. For instance, try looping one part of your cord around a plant and sitting with the end of the cord in your left hand. Consider the channel you create in that moment and be aware of  the information that flows through it.

How to Make Your Spirit Cord

1.) Acquire three pieces of material. Choose materials that can be braided together such as yarn, rope, or thread. I recommend that you choose the same material for each of the three strands. This cord is something you can wear or wrap around you, so choose something comfortable that will feel good against your skin. You may want to choose one, two or three colors for your cord. (My cord is three different colors, white, black and red. This is entirely up to you.)

In choosing colors, reflect on what different colors mean to you in particular. Red might mean power and protection, blood spilled in creative work? Black might mean to you a power that absorbs negativity. Blues for you might call forth healing waters. Yellows might evoke for you a field of wildflowers and something lighthearted or it might evoke something entirely different.

The point is to open up correspondences that connect with yourself. As you choose your colors, keep in mind the work or purpose of the cord, as we have said above: for daily practice, working with lineage and legacy; to strengthen and restrict, open up the channel to travel more easily between the worlds.

2.) Cut the cords to the length or height of your body. Give yourself about twelve inches (or about thirty centimeters) of extra material, since the cords will shorten as you braid.

3.) You will now have three lengths of material, and either one, two or three colors. Now you must assign deeper significance to each strand. Here is how you can do that:

Think about your life as a whole and in part, your aspirations, your desires, your frustrations and obstacles. What facets of your life feel separated from one another?

Some common examples of different facets of life that can feel separated or related and joined together:

  • Work life
  • Spiritual practice
  • Love life
  • Creative life
  • Physical health
  • Eating food
  • Family life
  • Financial life
  • Self-image

Now choose three life facets for your cord, and assign one for each strand. Take as much time as you need to make your choices.

If this does not feel resonant to you, here are a couple of further options:

Some of us struggle with the separation between who we are inside and the face we show to others. If this describes your experience then dedicate one strand of your cord to your inner voice, one strand to your outer expression, and one strand for the two aspects coming into union with each other.

In other cases we are searching for a through line connecting our experience of past, present, and future. In that case you might dedicate one strand of your cord to the past, one to the present, and one to the future.

4.) Keeping the three facets you have selected strongly in your mind and inner intention, braid the three strands together. (If you’ve forgotten how to braid, or don’t know how to, no worries. You can find instructions on YouTube for examples of simple braiding tips. I would suggest, however, that you practice first on some other strands before working on your cord. It is important for your own work to cultivate and hold your intention as you braid the cord and obviously this cannot take place if you have one eye on the computer screen.)

After you finish, bless it with your own words and in your own way, and put it in a safe place for use later.

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.

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

A Gathering Prayer ~ New Moon in Aquarius

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

On January 27th we celebrate a brightly black New Moon in Aquarius. The week leading up to this moon has seen many different communities coming together in a variety of ways which is absolutely in alignment with the politically and communally minded sign of Aquarius. And so, it is time for a Gathering Prayer.

A Gathering Prayer

Blessed be our ways of coming together.

First let us come together within ourselves, seeing clearly all our parts – the places that yearn to help and be of service, the places that are afraid, the places that are led by the empty echo chamber of shallow voice and shallow thought, and the places that are deep enough to speak directly to the core of who we are.

Next let us come together with our beloveds, hands joining hands joining hands, creating a gateway of fingers and arms, solid bodies, and sure voices that can open and close with ease as we affirm that these things are precious, not to be trifled with nor denigrated or abused and if you are of the same mind then welcome home, we have been waiting, and we are so glad that you are here.

Then let us come together with the strangers, the ones we do not know or recognize upon first, second, even third glance. The ones who look and sound different, think differently, act strangely, remembering that there are infinite ways of coming together so that we might come together like a big bowl of posole where some ingredients are cooked longer and others receive less time at the fire, and there are many different tastes and together in just the right ratios they are pure magic.

Finally let us come together with our enemies, for we cannot be fully together with those we do not know, those we love, and our own selves if we cannot also look at those who would do us harm with love; knowing that there are many ways to come together so that we might come together like the prickly pear cactus does with the oak – mostly giving space and good distance from each other as they hold to an invisible line but every now and then forming the most unlikely of unions.

Let us come together, let us come to gather, and as we do may we remember the circling of stars, the drumbeat of heart, the dance of blood cells and all the perennial common grounds to which the differences, disagreements, and despairs of separateness will return once more.

 

(Photo credit: still from the fantastic film Winged Migration)

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Aquarius the Water-Bearer

Divination and Dreams

F

rom earthy Capricorn we move into the aerial and aquatic realms ready to stir and shake things up with the one and only Aquarius.

Aquarius is the 11th sign in the zodiacal wheel, attuned to the element of Air and is a fixed sign ruled by Uranus. The Sun is in Aquarius from January 19 through February 18. As an Air sign Aquarius symbolizes our relationship with our intellect, thoughts, and internal struggles as well as our role in our greater communities. In its depiction as the human figure of the Water-Bearer, Aquarius also symbolizes our relationship with emotions and our literal connection with the element of Water.

Water-Bearer as Aquarius: By Briana Saussy

We depart from the mythic creatures we worked with in both Sagittarius and Capricorn as we turn our attention to Aquarius and discover perhaps the most mysterious creature of them all: humans.

Like its predecessor Capricorn, Aquarius is one of the oldest constellations found in Sumerian myth, Babylonian codex, Vedic Astrological tradition and Chinese star lore. In ancient Sumer and Babylon the star cluster was associated with the great God Ea himself, the annual flooding of the Nile, and the emblematic depictions of the constellations could be elaborate, including a man bearing a cup with water flowing all around.

As we move forward into time and into Ancient Greece we see that the emblems associated with Aquarius become simplified most often just the depiction of a cup or the depiction of a man with a cup and the story behind the stars became more layered and nuanced. For the story of Aquarius is one version of the story of the Flood which is a integral part of ancient myth in many parts of the world.

The Greek version stars the son of Prometheus, Prometheus being literally forethought” and best known as the Titan who, after seeing that the Gods had given all of creation special gifts except for humans, decided to steal fire from the heavens (star fire?) and teach people how to work with fire as a tool.

Prometheus’ famous punishment was to be chained to the side of a mountain where a vulture would swoop down and peck out his liver. Well, somewhere in all of that he had a son named Deucalion and just as Prometheus’ name is forever associated with the element of fire, Deucalion’s is associated with the element of water, and later air.

It all began with a sacrifice that went wrong. In some stories it is a king in Athens who pours a libation of water instead of wine, angering the Gods. In the older stories it is something more violent and bloody, the sacrifice of a young boy to Zeus, that was taken as deeply offensive, heretical, and impure.

AquariusHere we see one of strongest traits of Aquarius come to the foreground for this is the sign that is often seen as the cosmic rebel, refusing to go along with the way it has always been done” and instead looking with fresh eyes at whether an action still makes sense or is relevant (or was ever appropriate).

Aquarius is the sign least interested in tradition and there is goodness in that attitude because certain traditions (like human sacrifice, slavery, and child brides to name a few) must be called for what they are wrong and unjust and stamped out firmly and completely.

So, a young boy was killed for no good reason and the gods became enraged. What I hear below and beneath the surface of the story is the grief; that the heavens wept at the loss and waste of innocent life, and so they cried, and they cried, and they cried. And the waters came rushing down covering the land over and the rivers began to swell up and out and overrun their banks, and the oceans began to grow greater and higher and vaster than ever before.

That a flood is a cosmic cleansing is pretty obvious. Waters can ravage and level land as surely as fire can although in its wake, after the mud has dried and the sun has pierced through once more, great waters also prepare the land for new life. It is this way for us too, especially when we are guided by Aquarius. For this sign understands that when there are traditions and ways of doing things that are not only not relevant but positively harmful to self and to others there must be atonement, there must be cleansing and purification so that the harm and violence done can be washed away and out to sea. This is blessing work but also work that leaves us with the need to start again, find a new way, build something else.

And this is where Aquarius shines. For this is the part of the sky that inspires us with innovation and inventiveness; the place that encourages us to look forward into what is possible and not back into what has been. The water that overflows from Aquarius’ cup covers over the land and removes what needs to be removed, but then the real work of humans’ deep and brilliant minds is allowed to take center stage as we ask the question: what can be created right here and right now?

In the tale, the creator is Deucalion, Prometheus’ son who first figures out how to survive the Flood by building a boat large enough and sea-worthy enough for himself and his beloved wife. Once the waters have done their cleansing, deepening, work they recede and Deucalion is left as the only man/Titan standing alongside his love. They become the founders of a new city where new temples, new governance structures, and new traditions take place.

Again, the parallels with the astrological qualities of Aquarius are profound. Lovers of what is new and what is possible, Aquarius is also a very political sign concerned with the community at large, the polis as it was understood in ancient Greece meaning the entire city. This is also the place where we see the Air element show up in Aquarius, for despite all the water image, Aquarius is an Air sign and Air signs are all concerned with the bonds of civilization, social contracts, and the most just way to live life. In our day and age of virtual communities Aquarius often makes itself at home on the web and thrives in any environment where new and more just forms of connection and representation are under consideration.

When faced with the task of repopulating the Earth, Deucalion and his wife were told to take the bones of their mother and throw them behind their backs. They used their mental gifts to unravel the mystery and understood that bones of your mother” does not refer to the bones of your literal mother, but rather to the great rocks, the bones” of THE mother Gaia, the Earth. So they took rocks and threw them behind their shoulders and children sprung up in their wake.

This too speaks to the qualities inherent in Aquarius the love of a good riddle or puzzle, a mental brilliance that is able to see past the surface right into the essence of things, and a way of living life that is fertile and procreative, but not in a conventional manner.

Often it is said that what separates humans from other creatures, what makes us so different is our intellect. But for the ancients and our own ancestors that was not quite the right understanding. Rather, the gift that we carried is the ability for intellect to join forces with what we feel deeply, and what animates us and stirs us into action it is that we are capable of right relationship between all of these parts that is truly remarkable. The same is true for Aquarius.

Sometimes the sign is characterized as too mental,” too in the head,” but the truth is that Aquarius’ nature is born not fully sprung like Athena, but from a great well of emotion, of grief so deep that the waters themselves spilled out and over. Mental agility and creative thinking are called up not in contrast to but from the depths of those deep feelings and work in service of creating the new possibilities that those passions inspire. And this, I think, is what it means to truly bear water. For it is not about offering a cup full of water to this or that person Aquarius is not the cup bearer, but rather the one who will bear up under the onslaught, and survive it so that there might be a new day

Water-Bearer As Animal: By Sara Magnuson

Several astrological signs are represented by humans and in the context of this series we must take the perspective of ourselves as fellow animals. We are indeed of the Kingdom Animalia, right along with every other living creature. Thus the sign of Aquarius asks us to consider certain aspects of our human-animal nature.
We have learned that Aquarius represents the Water-Bearer in many ways historically, but when we consider Aquarius as Animal, we must begin with our
(humans) extraordinary relationship with the elements of air and water.

The most important factor that makes our planet Earth unique is the presence of the elements of water and air. Water is a main ingredient in forming a living organism and we all remember from school that our own bodies are made up of 60-70% water. Air is also required for life and even creatures that live under water need air, for water cannot be created without oxygen.

There is a mystery to water, metaphorically and scientifically. Water is obviously a necessary element to support life, yet we are constantly struggling with droughts and shortages. With all of our technological advances why can’t we just create water in a lab? Turns out, creating the molecules that make up water (H2O) is extremely volatile and dangerous! To briefly help us understand, here’s a simple explanation of the process…

AquariusWater is made of two hydrogen atoms attached to an oxygen atom. This seems like pretty basic chemistry, so why don’t we just smash them together and solve the world­’s water ills? Theoretically, this is possible, but it would be an extrem­ely dangerous process, too. To create water, oxygen and hydrogen atoms must be present. Mixing them together doesn’t help; you’re still left with just separate hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The orbits of each atom’s electrons must become linked, and to do that we must have a sudden burst of energy to get these shy things to hook up. Since hydrogen is extremely flammable and oxygen supports combustion, it wouldn’t take much to create this force. Pretty much all we need is a spark – not even a flame – and boom! We’ve got water. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms’ electrons’ orbits have been conjoined. But we also have an explosion and – if our experiment was big enough, a deadly one.”  — Josh Clark

So you see, water is a precious thing. The chemical reaction required to bond the atoms together is too dangerous to be reproduced in a lab. It’s not even totally verified how water came to exist on our planet and there are really only theories as to how it formed eons ago. A scientific mystery.


The fact that it takes such precise circumstances for water to form, for those atoms to bond together, speaks to Aquarius’ tendency to be concerned with community
the bonds that hold us together as fellow human animals, the link between the air of our intellect and the watery depths of our souls. And remember, these bonds don’t just form willy-nilly! Those atoms, just like Aquarius, are very selective about when and how they will join together. Once the bond has formed, though, the possibilities for movement and growth are endless.

Water is also one of the most unfamiliar, unrelatable realms to us humans who live on land. To live in the water takes a completely different kind of body than the ones we have. We may find ways to explore and learn about our oceans, rivers, lakes, swamps, etc., but we will never truly know what it is to live beneath that glassy barrier.

It is in this way that water is most often associated with our emotions, an aspect that is frequently called uniquely human,” though I would argue otherwise. Water is associated with emotions because they are the deepest parts of us, the parts beneath the surface that only you will ever truly know. Water is such an integral part of us that sometimes we exhibit our own human emotions by excreting salt water from our eyes. When our feelings overwhelm us and the air of our mind becomes heavy like a rain cloud, it is water that seeps out.

It is the inherent nature of water and air to move toward balance. Areas of high and low pressure air are constantly drawn to each other in a dance of harmony. Water will continue to flow until an equilibrium is reached. If you find a pool of water on the ground and are able to break the surrounding edge, it will move toward the opening, seeking level ground as if it has always been waiting for the opportunity move forward. And everywhere that water travels, it leaves in its wake the possibility of new life.

As we reflect on the stories of tears and Floods, we see that water shows us direction. Water can be free-flowing and rushing and forceful, but water can also be subtle and controlled. Air is the element that cannot be seen and the stories of personal relationships speak to the work of building community that takes place behind the scenes and under the surface. Aquarius reminds us that while our thoughts and emotions may feel overwhelming, like a Great Flood, their turbulent nature can be redirected in a purposeful way that promotes the best possible environment for growth and new beginnings.

Call on Aquarius When:

  • You are ready to shed the past way of doing/being/thinking
  • You want to call in a new reality, new possibility, new potential
  • You need to rebel, rock the boat, or stir up waters that have grown too stagnant.
  • You desire to foster and support your mental agility, wit, and inner brilliance.
  • You want to learn more/work with about advanced technologies of all kinds.
  • You’d like to support a new creation or invention.
  • You want to strengthen group dynamics, form a group for a specific purpose, and/or honor your community.
  • You are launching any kind of web or social media presence or generally working with computers and the web.
  • You need to color outside of the lines.
  • You are ready for a paradigm shift.
  • You desire to focus on the future and what is to come.
  • You want to marry intellect with deep emotions for a fuller experience.

Be Wary Of:

  • Stubbornness   Aquarius is an aerial sign and air is the element of flexibility but it is also a fixed sign meaning that it can get into its sense of what is right and what is wrong and become very unmovable
  • Being too scattered Aquarius has an incredible mind but does not always possess the follow through to see its brilliant thoughts implemented into practical actions.
  • Apparent aloofness I say apparent because Aquarius is not really aloof but their objectivity can sometimes make them seem that way.
  • Complete detachment from the past while the past carries much with it that does need to be shed, the past also carries important lessons. Aquarius should take care not to throw the baby of the past out with the bathwater.
  • Overly Political Aquarius is the sign and area of the chart where we are most likely to ignore or break an important relationship in the name of political differences or let a single cause take over the whole of our lives.

Questions to Ponder:

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

  • What parts of my past would I like to move beyond?
  • What new story and future potential do I want to step into?
  • What am I ready to invent?
  • What role(s) do I want to take on within my communities?
  • What is my relationship to technology and progress?
  • What political cause do I feel most strong about and what practical actions can I take to support it?
  • What inner brilliance is waiting to be unleashed?
  • Where do I need to rebel and buck the trends?

Active Imagination Journey:

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 sun-dappled path through a beautiful wood. It is dusk and quiet and still and peaceful. Notice your steps, your heartbeat, and your breath all in rhythm together.

The path begins to open up and you find yourself at the edge of the wood looking toward a smooth, glassy lake. There is short pier connecting the shore to the water and a small boat is tied at the end. Make your way to the edge of the lake and down the pier. You feel safe and peaceful here as you climb into the boat and remove its tether.

As soon as you are free from the pier a gentle breeze moves across your face and begins to carry you toward the center of the lake. You do not need to paddle and you trust that the spirit of the wind is taking you where you need to go. As you move across the lake you feel cradled in this boat, skimming slowly along the the mirrored surface, caressed by the delicate breeze. Allow the currents of the air and water to guide you in this vessel.

Your boat begins to slow as the winds recede and you are at the center of the lake. Close your eyes and sit for a few moments. Feel the subtle movements of the boat like a favorite rocking chair and the stillness of the air on your skin. Allow the rhythms of your body to fall in sync with the boat, the water, and the air.

Open your eyes and look over the edge of the boat at the surface of the water. It is perfectly smooth and you see your reflection crystal clear. Take a moment to stare into this watery mirror, looking yourself in the eyes. Acknowledge the miracle of your own life and ask your reflection what you need to let go of, what needs to change. As you ask this question, a gentle wind ripples across the water, distorting your reflection, turning the mirrored surface into a window through which you can see the parts of your past that no longer serve you. Observe this with no judgment. Like the gentle rocking of the boat, be gentle with yourself. Observe what you see and trust the truth of the water.

The water’s surface calms and returns to its perfectly smooth state. Look at your reflection again, now with the knowledge of what can be released. Acknowledge the miracle of your own life and ask your reflection to show your future self, the possibilities that will be open to you once you release the past. As you ask this question, a gentle wind ripples across the water, distorting your reflection, turning the mirrored surface into a window through which you can see all the potential available to you. Observe this with no judgment. Like the gentle rocking of the boat, be gentle with yourself. Observe what you see and trust the truth of the water.

The water’s surface calms and returns to its perfectly smooth state. Look at your reflection again and consider what the water has shown you what it can take away, where it can carry you, and your ability to call on its life-giving properties to create the future you desire.

Sit for a few moments and feel the subtle movements of the boat like a favorite rocking chair. Feel the air on your skin as a gentle breeze picks up again, slowly carrying your boat back toward the pier. You do not need to paddle and you trust the spirit of the wind. As you move across the lake you feel cradled in this boat, skimming slowly along the the mirrored surface, caressed by the delicate breeze. Allow the currents of the air and water to guide you back to shore.

Once you have reached the pier, step out of the boat and give yourself a moment to stand on the pier, looking out across the elegant, mysterious lake. Express your gratitude for the insights you’ve been given.

When you are ready, begin walking back on the sun-dappled path through the beautiful wood. It is dusk and quiet and still and peaceful. Notice your steps, your heartbeat and your breath all 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/Ritual:

Our ritual for Aquarius is going to be a bathing ritual in honor of all of that water.

You will need:
1 cup kosher salt
1 pinch of dried peppermint
1 pinch of dried lemongrass

1 pinch baking soda
3 whole black peppercorns
An incense that you love
Washed and clean clothes
(they don’t have to be new but they need to have been freshly washed)
Something from your past you would like to shed.
A future possibility you want to step into.
Combine the salt, herbs, baking soda, and peppercorns together. As you mix the ingredients focus and pray over what you are ready to let go of and what you are ready to step into moving forward. You may want to write both of these down in petition form.Run your bath and add the ingredients to the bathtub. You may add the ingredients loosely but do be aware that clean up might require more of you if you choose that route. You may also place the ingredients in a muslin bag and add that to the bathtub. If you only have a shower place the ingredients in a muslin bag and hang it on your shower nozzle so that the spray goes through the bag and then onto your body.

Set yourself up so that after your bath you have your incense ready to burn and you will be able to step through the smoke and then access your clean clothes.

Take your bath, allow yourself to focus on what you are ready to leave behind. See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel yourself dropping it into the water. Every time you run water over your body see, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel how more of the old story is being dissolved, released, and shed.

When you are ready stand up and drain the bath. Affirm and acknowledge that as the water circles down the drain all that you have released is going into the deep earth where it can be transformed into something good and useful once more.

Standing naked, do not dry yourself off with a towel but let yourself air dry. Light the incense and when you are ready to step out of your past and into your future, walk through the sacred smoke.

Your clean clothes should be waiting on the other side, put them on and as you do so affirm and acknowledge that you are now fully inhabiting your new story, new possibility, you are calling in your future.

Say any words of thanksgivings and leave any offerings you like as a final act to this rite.

 

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.

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

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.

 

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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.