Three Ways to Release the Old and Call in the New

Divination and Dreams

D

ear Miracles,

Winds blow across the land here where I live and the trees in our front yard are finally bare of branch. I can see various charms that I have hung up in their branches throughout 2015 – a scrap of ribbon here, a pine cone covered in birdseed and prayer there, a dried pomegranate left as an offering on Halloween, an old and twisted root tied up with yarn.

Over the next few days I will gather these little offerings given to the trees and taken out into the world by the winds. I will add them to a pile of petition papers and candle wax and a few other ceremonial items and then, as is our tradition, I will burn them in a sacred fire.

As they burn they will be joined by many of your own prayers and petitions — for all who are participating in 2015’s Banish and Burn ritual have sent in their own words and wishes of what needs to be released, let go of, and banished.

To banish something is not merely to get rid of it. To banish something is actually to honor it for the role(s) it has played in our lives and to release it, to let it go, so that it might be transformed by earth, air, fire, and water into something that is good and of use for others. This banishing, releasing and letting go is the first in a three step process that I work with every year as we move from the old year into the new.

 

The process itself echoes a process we see in ritual and ceremony throughout time beyond time:

First one must cleanse, release, let go, and rid themselves of what is no longer needed. Unhelpful and/or diminishing attitudes, beliefs, ideas, stalled out creative endeavors, relationships that keep trudging on in the same tired cycle, our inability to see as clearly as we might, to love as deeply as we can, to cultivate right relationship in all times and all places to the best of our abilities — these are some of the things we might let go.

Next, we set our homes in order. Many people take this literally – the New Year arrives and we clean out our homes, our cars, our closets, and our wallets. Floors, windowsills, and walls are washed so that our living spaces are not only physically clean, but spiritually cleansed too.

Another way we set our internal homes in order is through plotting out our year, making the first mark on the virgin page of that new planner or calendar, and getting our astrological dates lined up so that we have a good sense of what is happening and when it might happen.

Finally, we call in blessings along with the New Year. Our New Year’s resolutions are actually remnants of very ancient practices involving our ability to ask for what is most needed, desired, hoped and wished for and promising in turn to do our part to be blessed and a blessing in turn.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

2016 Astro RX

Divination and Dreams

H

appy Day Miracles,

As 2015 rushes to a close many of us like to engage in some ritual and ceremony to mark the end of one year and begin a new one. One popular act is to consciously release and let go of what no longer serves us. Another is to get hip to the astrological happenings that will accompany the unfolding of 2016. Now there are many places on the web that you can go and get basic information about planets, signs, transits and more throughout 2016. That is useful information to know, but it is really just the tip of the iceberg.

So, in this astrological guide you will find important dates and descriptions of celestial events but more than that, you will find questions to ponder, be inspired by, journal on, and create with, that are evoked by each astrological happening in 2016. Enjoy!

Start with the Moon

LunarLetter_FullMoonLa Luna is the most visible and easily trackable celestial body in the sky besides the sun. And so it makes complete sense that the earliest calendars were lunar to say nothing of the many ceremonies, rites, and feast days that honored Luna in her various phases. Within the sacred arts there are four lunar phases to pay especial attention to: Full, New, Dark, and the First Quarter. Most folks are familiar with Full, New, and Dark or Balsamic moons but not as familiar with the First Quarter moons, however the moon in its first quarter phase marks the halfway point between new and full. This is the phase that for the ancients was most associated with divination and prophecy, perhaps made most famous by the Oracle at Delphi who only issued her prophetic statements when the moon was in this phase.

So here are the lunar phases for 2016 in central time.

New Moons in 2016

1/9: New Moon at 19 degrees Capricorn, 7:31 PM
Ask: What needs to be renewed or refreshed in my career or craftsmanship?

2/8: New Moon at 19 degrees Aquarius, 8:39 AM
Ask: How do I honor new relationships and how do I renew old relationships?

3/8: New Moon and Total Solar Eclipse at 18 degrees Pisces, 7:54 PM
Ask: What is ready to be healed once and for all?

4/7: New Moon at 18 degrees Aries, 6:24 AM
Ask: What big thing am I ready to begin?

5/6: New Moon at 16 degrees Taurus, 2:30 PM
Ask: What seeds can I plant now for financial sustainability?

6/4: New Moon at 14 degree Gemini, 10:01 PM
Ask: What am I ready to learn?

7/4: New Moon at 12 degrees Cancer, 6:03 AM
Ask: Where is the poetry in my life?

8/2: New Moon at 10 degrees Leo, 3:46 PM
Ask: How can I honor my tribe?

9/1: New Moon and Annular Solar Eclipse at 9 degrees Virgo, 4:04 AM
Ask: What am I ready to devote myself to?

9/30: New Moon at 8 degrees Libra, 7:12 PM
Ask: What new aspect of love am I ready to explore?

10/30: New Moon at 7 degrees Scorpio, 12:39 PM
Ask: Where are the deep waters asking me to go?

11/29: New Moon at 7 degrees Sagittarius, 6:19 AM
Ask: Where do I find freedom?

12/29: New Moon at 7 degrees Capricorn, 12:53 AM
Ask: What new element will benefit my work and craftsmanship?

Full Moons in 2016

1/23: Full Moon at 3 degrees Leo, 7:46 PM
Ask: What is my favorite way of celebrating?

2/22: Full Moon at 3 degrees Virgo, 12:21 PM
Ask: Where have I brought order and beauty into my life?

3/23: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse at 3 degrees Libra, 7:01 AM
Ask: Right relationship means…

4/22: Full Moon at 2 degrees Scorpio, 12:24 AM
Ask: What investment(s) has yielded fruit?

5/21: Full Moon at 1 degree Sagittarius, 4:15 PM
Ask: Where have I created more freedom for myself?

6/20: Full Moon at 29 degrees Sagittarius and Summer Solstice, 6:03 AM
Ask: Where do I shine brightest?

7/19: Full Moon at 27 degrees Capricorn, 5:57 PM
Ask: One of my big successes has been…and I learned this from it:….

8/18: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse at 25 degrees Aquarius, 4:27 AM
Ask: Who shows up for me and who do I show up for?

9/16: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse at 24 degrees Pisces, 12:06 PM
Ask: What have I healed and what did I learn in the process?

10/16: Full Moon at 23 degrees Aries, 11:24 AM
Ask: What project did I see through from start to finish? How did I do it?

11/14: Full Moon at 22 degrees Taurus, 7:52 AM
Ask: Where is there abundance in my life?

12/13 Full Moon at 22 degrees Gemini, 6:06 PM
Ask: What have I learned this year?

 

Dark or Balsamic Moons in 2016

Note: Dark/Balsamic Moons are actually counted from the Last Quarter through the New Moon.

1/1: Dark Moon at 11 degrees Libra, 7:30 PM
Ask: What relationships am I ready to release?

2/1: Dark Moon at 11 degrees Scorpio, 5:27pm
Ask: What mysteries need to be protected?

3/1: Dark Moon at 11 degrees Sagittarius, 5:10pm
Ask: What am I willing to give up in order to have more freedom?

3/31: Dark Moon at 11 degrees Capricorn, 10:16 AM
Ask: What does my work and craftsmanship need less of?

4/29: Dark Moon at 10 degrees Aquarius, 10:28 PM
Ask: What anxiety about the future can I release?

5/29: Dark Moon at 8 degrees Pisces, 7:11 AM
Ask: What delusion is no longer serving me?

6/29: Dark Moon at 6 degrees Aries, 1:18 AM
Ask: What foolishness can I let go of?

7/26: Dark Moon at 4 degrees Taurus, 5:59 AM
Ask: What shame can I banish?

8/24: Dark Moon at 2 degrees Gemini, 10:40 PM
Ask: What kinds of communication do I need less of?

9/23: Dark Moon 0 degrees Cancer, 4:56 AM
Ask: What dreams am I ready to let go?

10/22: Dark Moon 29 degrees Cancer , 1:14 PM
Ask: What obstacles do I need to remove?

11/21: Dark Moon 28 degrees Leo, 2:33 AM
Ask: What pride is no longer needed?

12/20: Dark Moon, 0 degrees Libra 9:56 PM
Ask: What struggles in the name of love am I able to release?

First Quarter Moons  in 2016

1/16: First Quarter at  25 degrees Aries, 5:26 PM
Ask: What does courage tell me?

2/15: First Quarter at 25 degrees Taurus, 1:47 AM
Ask: What does pleasure tell me?

3/15: First Quarter at 25 degrees Gemini, 12:03 PM
Ask: What does speech and thought tell me?

4/13: First Quarter at 24 degrees Cancer, 11:00 PM
Ask: What is nourishment to me and where is it in my life?

5/13: First Quarter at 23 degrees Leo, 12:03 PM
Ask: What does my heart want right now?

6/12: First Quarter at 21 degrees Virgo, 3:10 AM
Ask: What does devotion teach me?

7/11: First Quarter at 14 degrees Libra, 7:53 AM
Ask: What does love show me?

8/10: First Quarter at 18 degrees Scorpio, 1:22 PM
Ask: Where is the mystery for me right now?

9/9: First Quarter at degrees 17 Sagittarius, 6:50 AM
Ask: What does freedom tell me?

10/8: First Quarter at 10 degrees Capricorn, 11:34 PM
Ask: How can I bring more endurance and patience into my life?

11/7: First Quarter at 15 degrees Aquarius, 1:52 PM
Ask: What does my community teach me?

12/7: First Quarter at 21 degrees Pisces, 3:03 AM
Ask: What dream is waiting for me?

Planets

Just like the stars, planets move throughout the sky all of the time. The inner planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars) all move relatively quickly through signs and sections of the chart. The outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto) all move at a much slower rate through the various constellations and houses of the chart. Inner planets traditionally are understood to deal with every day, practical, real-life issues while outer planets are understood to work with big cycles, realizations, and patterns in our lives. First we will spend some time with some of the inner planet happenings in 2016, starting with the ever dreaded Mercury retrogrades.

Mercury Retrograde Dates

Read: All you need to know about Mercury Retrograde. You can also get a leg up on Mercury Retrograde by snagging the Mercury RX Survival Kit.

January 5 – January 25: Retrograde starts in Aquarius moves into Capricorn on 1/8

Ask: How am I showing up for my community, my friends, my neighbors, my work?
Do the ways I show up feel good or do they need to change and if so, how?

April 28 – May 22 in Taurus

Ask: How is my relationship with my physical body, what is my body trying to tell me?
What are the pleasurable things I do for myself or someone else regularly? Is it enough or is there room for more pleasure?

August 30 – September 22 in Virgo

Ask: How is my physical health? What areas of health and wellness might I need to focus on more going forward? Where is devotion in my life right now?

December 19 2016 – January 8, 2017: Retrograde starts in Capricorn moves into Sagittarius on 1/5

Ask: What do I need to remember about endurance? What teachings have I accepted that are no longer valid?

Mars

This is the one to watch: In 2016 Mars will spend a big chunk of the year in the signs of Scorpio and Sagittarius. Mars enters Scorpio on January 3rd and then on March 5th it goes into Sagittarius. On April 17th Mars goes retrograde in Sagittarius, continues to retrograde in Scorpio starting May 27th and stays retrograde until June 29th at which point it goes direct again.

In astro-land Mars sometimes has a bad reputation and no matter where they occur in your chart, Scorpio and Sagittarius both pack some intense energy. You can resist Mars – and in doing so you will discover your angry, competitive side most likely while you waste a lot of energy and ignore your physical health. OR you can do high-end Mars, harnessing this planet’s incredible will power, endurance, courage and stamina to discover what aspects of your life are in need of optimization and bring those improvements into being.
Ask: What do I put my energy into? Do those choices serve me or not?

 

When Mars enters Scorpio on 1/3…

Ask:What can be optimized in my intimate connections? In my love and sex life? In the investments that I make (whether those are investments of time, resource, energy, money or a little bit of everything)?
What hidden aspects of my life am I ignoring because I am afraid to look at them head on?

 

When Mars enters Sagittarius on 3/5…

Ask: What does the way I live my life teach others? What ideas no longer make sense or seem correct to me?

Throughout the Mars retrograde whenever you encounter a difficult situation:
Ask: How can I bring more courage (more heart) into this situation? What do I need to let go of in order to move forward with more freedom?

Saturn and Neptune Square Off in 2016

Actually these two potent planets started facing off in 2015 with the first exact square occurring at the end of November 2015 – think back to that time and ask yourself if anything major was happening in your life. I think of this tense conversation between Saturn (in Sagittarius) and Neptune (in Pisces) as dreamtime meets real time.

In other words: Neptune says “Look, at my dream, isn’t it pretty?!”

And Saturn replies,
“It is, and the world needs it, so how are you going to make it a reality? Get to work, moonbeam.”
THAT is the Neptune/Saturn square in a nutshell. Though it may feel taxing at times, this configuration has the ability to take many impressive visions and possibilities and put the elbow grease into them so that they become part of our collective experience and cosmos.
Ask: What is my big dream right now, how can I practically support it?
Think about an actual dream that you are having now or that you have had – one that really stayed with you; where is that happening in your life right now?
What does nourishing structure and creative rigor look and feel like? Where in my life do I need more of those qualities?

Jupiter in Virgo and Libra

Jupiter is currently in Virgo and continues to transit through Virgo for most of 2016. On September 9th Jupiter will go into the sign of Libra and transit that sign for the rest of the year. Virgo has a reputation for calling to mind all things orderly, put together, and organized, but Virgo’s deeper resonance deals with devotion and unconditional care. Ruling over the 6th house, Virgo is also the sign to work with whenever there are physical health concerns. Jupiter’s benevolent authority and sovereignty can help all of us ground deeply by organizing our personal spaces/businesses and also creating a bigger role for devotion in our lives.
Ask: Where does my physical health need extra care and support? How and what kind of order would allow me to have more space to create?

Jupiter in Libra turns the spotlight on love, partnerships, diplomacy, art, and culture.
Ask: How can I bring more blessing into my relationships? What kind of generosity do I bring to my loved ones?

Saturn in Sagittarius

Throughout 2016 Saturn continues to wind its way through the sign of Sagittarius, the Archer. This is the area of our lives where we engage in creating a VISION for ourselves and the world that we live in. Freedom, philosophy (as in your philosophy of life), education, and religion all have a role to play in this relationship. Saturn, planet of Time among other things invites us to consider our relationship to each of the areas that Sagittarius speaks to.
Ask: Where in my life can greater discipline lead to truer freedom? What is one thing that I absolutely believe? Why?

Neptune in Pisces

Neptune IS the ruling planet of the sign Pisces so it is very happy to be hanging out with the fishes, even despite of (and maybe encouraged by) its square with Saturn. This is a year when it can feel like the inspiration is flowing and the Muse is showing up on a daily basis. The squares with Saturn can symbolize “stuck” periods that really require creativity around practical concerns.
Ask: What do I want/need/feel called to make/be/do in 2016 and what practical actions can I take to support that work? What is the role of creativity in my life right now?

Uranus in Aries

This is the cosmic rebel yell! Uranus is radical, as in it goes right down to the root of things, takes in the entire landscape, and then plunges ahead with a fully formed (or maybe not) vision of what CAN be. Aries joins in the fracas all too happily reminding us all that, as my dad (an Aries) says, “you can stare or you can start.” Of course with this energy we want to start ventures deliberately and not leave a trail of half finished really good ideas behind us.
Ask: What needs to be shaken up and expanded? Where am I ready to rebel and why? Can I finished what I start?

Pluto in Capricorn

Capricorn works hard and Pluto goes deep so this pairing cannot help but leave an impact wherever it happens in your chart. Capricorn is often thought of as the career sector of the chart but I think of it more as craftsmanship. The difference is that for many of us career is a notion tied distinctly to our jobs, while craftsmanship is a virtue that we can apply to many areas of our lives. Pluto relentlessly tears down whatever is not working and Capricorn has the good sense to continue moving forward and refining all needed skill sets.
Ask: What does mastery mean to me? Where am I a master in my life and how do I share that with others?

 

 

Further Reading + Resources:

If you would like more personal one on one astrological guidance book a Clarity Call with me. Current or past students/clients may book a series of Sacred Arts Sessions for deeper exploration.
Astro.com – home of free charts galore
The online ephemeris – any planet, any year – yes, for real.
Heidi Rose Robbins – soulful astrological readings via phone or skype
Mystic Medusa – fun astrological insights often tied to current events and pop culture
Amelia Quint – brilliant advice on tarot and astrology
The Tarot Lady – check out her specialty forecasts like the Entrepreneurcast

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

What Winter Solstice Teaches

Prayer and Blessing

M

iracles,
A tiny musing on Solstice which is celebrated today and tomorrow throughout the world in many different and gorgeous ways. Now many of us are taught that Winter Solstice celebrates the return of the light and yes, this is true. But/and Winter Solstice is also the longest night of the year in many places, the night of deepest and most complete darkness.

In cold countries where at this time of the year sunlight is already at a much cherished premium, think about and feel into what this period of longest night is like. Longest night to feast, to make love, to look at stars and moon, to sleep and dream deeply. Longest night of liminal space and liminal time. And then the rising of the sun, returning of the light and how good and glorious those warming rays feel against face, shoulder, and skin.

But of course the sun does not return in full force on Winter Solstice or the days following. The ground in many places is still frozen hard and solid and will not begin to thaw for many months yet. Snow still lies in thick icing blankets on the ground and tree branches and roof tops, or here where I live and it is not so very cold, the skies continue on in their leaden gray state and the buds and blossoms for the most part stay hidden and curled up tight while the deer roam about nosing in the dirt for still-tender-from-autumn-acorns.

All of this is to say that we celebrate not so much or not simply a return on Winter Solstice but rather a nascent re-emergence paired with great endurance – for the sun teaches us endurance as it grows and waxes and strengthens throughout these bitter months and into its springtime adolescence and its summer time maturity. That endurance: new beginning followed by long periods of growth and strengthening is really what arcs across and through the land – a reminder, a returning if you will, we see painted in solar shine across the sky.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Litany For Guadalupe

Prayer and Blessing

S

weet Miracles,

Many of us are now feeling the approach of the holiday season. No matter what you do (or don’t) celebrate and who you do or don’t celebrate it with, this is a time of year that can be full of joy and delight or a time of year that feels lonely, isolating, and depressing. Some of us can even feel all of these things at the same time!

It is in that spirit that I invite each and every one of you to participate in our Guadalupe Feast Day community altar service. The service is free and occurs on Saturday December 12th. You may send in your petitions, intentions, prayer requests, and blessings right HERE so that they are included in our community rite.

As always, feel free to share this offering with your friends and family members who would appreciate and benefit from the service. Now many of you know and love Guadalupe but for those of you who do not, let me say a few words about her and the spirit of this particular ceremony.

Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in Mexico City in 1531 to an indigenous man known to Spanish and English speakers as Juan Diego but known in his own tribal tongue as Cuauhtlatoatzin – which translates to something like “Talking Eagle”. Guadalupe is variously understood as the New World Blessed Virgin Mary, as a Catholic overlay of Tonantzin, the Nuahatl Goddess of life, fertility, and mothers, and as the patron Saint of Mexico. I understand her to be all of this and more. Having lived almost all of my life in “Guadalupe country” here is what I can tell you about Her.

Wherever there is a need for nurturing, mothering, calming, nourishment – there She is.
Wherever there is a need for healing, soothing, anointing and blessing – there She is.
Wherever new mothers, new fathers, and children of all ages need care and support – there She is.
Wherever there is loss, sadness, gaping holes full of the howling winds of grief and sorrow – there She is.
Wherever there is joy, laughter, good food, families gathering, friends speaking, old ones remembering – there She is.
Wherever there is rich black dirt, red roses, chile, cinnamon, chocolate, bread – there She is.
Wherever Death has come, unbidden, unasked for, unexpected, unwanted – there She is.
Wherever it is the very simple things that are most needed: clean water, clean air, clean food – there She is.
Wherever creatures, any creatures, are harmed and then helped – there She is.
Wherever there is trying, working, struggling, failing, getting back up again, victory – there She is.
Wherever there is heartfelt prayer in voice, body, gesture, art making of all kinds – there She is.
Wherever there is storytelling, remembering, recollecting what matters most – there She is.
Wherever there is art, creativity of all kinds, carrying beauty from soul to world – there She is.
Wherever there is seeking for fairness, justice, and truth – there She is.
Wherever there are those who feel unseen, unheard, unwanted, disregarded – there She is.
Wherever there is quiet, silence, stillness – there She is.
Wherever there are blessings waiting in broken places – there She is.
Wherever there is a scarred and sacred heart, pierced and bleeding – there She is.

Wherever we are told She is not supposed to be/go, whomever we are taught are not as deserving or worthy of Her most blessed presence – She is especially in those places and with those people, (Our Lady does not much care for “rules”.)

Wherever there is love, and there is love everywhere, there She is.

So what might you say to Nuestra Señora – Our Lady? Whatever is upon your heart and on your tongue. She is first and foremost Mother to the World and all creatures, you and I included, who dwell within it. Bring it all to the table – there is space here.

 

Blessings of the season to you and yours~

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Thanksgiving Prayer

Prayer and Blessing

D

ear Miracles,

A little blessing to share with each of you, who I am so thankful to and for, that you might make use of it whenever you have need.

For the spaces in which we gather, thank you.
May all have a safe space in which to gather.

For the ones we gather with, our people, our creatures, our blessed and broken lands, thank you.
May all find friendship in many places.

For the food that we eat and the water that we drink, thank you.
May all have access to safe and wholesome nourishment.

For the harvest we call in, thank you.
May all have the opportunity to plant seeds, nurture growth, and taste the fruits of their labor.

For the many loves we celebrate and share, thank you.
May all have the capacity to give and receive love many times over.

For the very breath we breathe, thank you.
May all have the chance to live their best possible life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now, ever, always.
Thank you.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to create an Ancestor-informed Tarot Reading

Divination and Dreams

N

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Arcana

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

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

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

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

Minor Arcana

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

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

Don’t forget the BIG questions!

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

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

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

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

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

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

Alchemy and Magic

D

ear Miracles,

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

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

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

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

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

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.