But They’ll Say I’m Crazy

Foundations

M

iracles,

Blessed Full Moon in Virgo – the sign of sovereignty as well as physical and mental health. It is no coincidence that these qualities go together. Sovereignty is a certain kind of self-sufficiency. Without physical and mental well-being, self-sufficiency is diminished. In more extreme cases, the self-sufficiency that goes with sovereignty is altogether undermined. Physical and mental well-being are difficult topics to approach, not only for Sacred Artists but most people, because they strike at the roots of who we are and how we live, here and now.

When it comes to physical health there are the normal types of resistance. Perhaps the largest one is that it’s expensive. But even more, finding a good doctor – one who is not only competent, but who you feel really knows you, and can work with you – is actually hard. Finding a good alternative health practitioner is even harder. It takes time, and it takes energy. In magical work, there are a number of situations where the first piece of advice to a would-be client is that they need to go see a trained medical practitioner, a doctor….stat. They may need to have their blood pressure assessed, their cholesterol checked; they may need a healthier sleep regimen, or they may need to look into effective alternative treatments to over-prescribed drugs. None of these things sound remotely magical and yet – believe me – they make a HUGE difference in the magic we make and in the magic we seek out. Perhaps the greatest secret to magic (ready?) is that it lives where we would least expect it, and it is on the side of optimization, of taking care what you have already and bringing out its deepest hidden potential, tapping into the power currents that already lay sleeping inside of every part of our ordinary lives. In the middle of the mess is the shining one. So if you want more magic in your life, the starting point is clear: begin with a strong dose of self-care.

By far the biggest resistance I encounter around physical health check-ups is that they expose things that we would rather keep hidden away, unseen, undisclosed, and undiagnosed. I understand. There is no one who would rather curl up with her cats and children and be left to her own devices than me. And yet, it is also true that our relationship to the unseen translates across the board. Meaning that you cannot be in right relationship with the aspects of the unseen and the liminal that are spiritual if you are ignoring the unseen parts of your home, your family, or your own physical body. They are all of a piece. This is not to say that our ability to make magic and live enchanted lives is over if we have physical limitations. If that were the case there would be no magic to speak of! Rather, it is to say that it is the relationship we have with those limits, with the things we would rather not look at, that determines in large part what kind of enchantment we can experience every day.

And, as true as this is for our physical bodies, it is even more true for our mental health. For this is where the relationship between soulful seekers and health becomes particularly dicey – in the mental arena. Why? Because so many of the things we do and so many of the experiences we have can be and have been, branded as crazy pure and simple. For all of the advances that we have made when it comes to mental health, for all of the research that shows us that “healthy” behaviors, thoughts, and emotions are not so much divided from unhealthy ones by a sharp line but rather are found on opposing ends of a large and vast spectrum, the fear of being branded crazy, insane, and a kook runs widely and deeply through our community.

Chances are you have had special experiences that no one talks about openly, that you yourself don’t even know how to talk about openly. You feel alone, but you are not alone. Countless people have, around the world, and throughout human history, experienced things that today we do not talk about for fear of being branded “weird”. Often these experiences come unannounced at night during sleep, or when we are grieving, or when we fall in love, or in many other moments during waking hours. All of these moments touch upon the sacred, but our present habit of mind discounts and forgets them – sees past them, turns the other way.

I sometimes refer to my work as “normalizing” the so-called weird experiences we all have. What we take to be normal and what is in truth normal are out of whack, need to be brought back into alignment or right relationship. Because the experience of the sacred is a common human experience, perhaps another way to describe what I do in the Sacred Arts is about “communalizing” these experiences. I’m not a mental health professional, but I don’t have to be in order to know that most people feel connected to the dead in one way or another; most people have had experiences where they simply know things are so, most people have felt themselves move between the worlds at one point or another.

These are all common examples of Sacred Arts practices that we do not talk about and we do not teach our children about because we don’t want to be seen as crazy. And so, another generation of Sacred Arts knowledge is lost, and we have to cast ever further back into our lineage to find the people and teachings that spoke about these things openly and frankly. Our old ones usually will. They have nothing to lose in a society that often equates the aging process with going soft in the head. Our children will speak openly because they have not yet learned to censor themselves or conform to the current trend of societal norms. But in between the old ones and the children is a great swath of people who simply pretend that a good chunk of their experience actually never happens. That is until they talk to someone like me. Then the gloves come off and the sharing gets real and I am able to say, ah yes, so you have experienced this too? The relief at knowing that we are not alone, that we are not “crazy”, is so absolute that it is not surprising to find people moved to tears.

However, this begs the question about mental illness and really all illness, all imperfections. They aren’t really the kinds of things that you either have or you don’t in most cases. Mental disequilibrium, for instance, is something any of us can slip into and out of, from time to time. So what about those of us who have normal, magical and liminal experiences AND suffer from anxiety or depression or schizophrenia or limited range of motion or cancer or chronic pain or some other limitation – then what? Can we not make magic? Should we simply accept that some people can have enchanted lives but not everyone? Not us? If you believe the magazines and the Instagram accounts, what we often see is that magic is equated to perfection. So there is a message: in order to make magic, you have to be perfect. There are other messages too: in order to make magic you have to be rich or you have to be poor, you have to be a certain color, you need to be a lady or a dude…we have all seen the categories that are more noticeable for all that they exclude as opposed to those that they include.

It is thoughts like these that make me love, love, LOVE, my friend and student, Esmé Wang’s new book, the Collected Schizophrenias. Esmé is known and beloved to some in our community and to others, her name might be brand new. She is an award-winning fiction writer who also happens to suffer from a chronic illness and schizophrenia. Esmé is lovely. She is always beautifully put together. She went to Yale. She has great taste in luscious red lipsticks. She loves her dog and her husband. She writes beautiful, true, words and she teaches people around the world how to work with their limitations. She also suffers from one of the most stigmatized mental illnesses out there. Esmé doesn’t get to worry about whether she is called crazy or not – that’s already happened. What Esmé does get to do and what she does beautifully every single day is getting to decide how to live with ALL of the parts of herself, including the stuff she would rather not see or deal with or think about. Over the years I have watched her show up, make use of the Sacred Arts, and stand in her own sovereignty. She is one of the sanest, most talented, and most dedicated people I know. I was honored that Esmé included a chapter about our work together in her book (the final chapter, entitled Beyond the Hedge), but I am more excited about the book as a whole because it does what the best books do – it tries to understand something complicated – in this case, mental illness – from the inside out. That is a worthy task, one that can benefit our entire world and one that is especially of good use to our community of soulful seekers. I think Esmé’s book has teachings for all of us who have ever deceived ourselves about our experiences on the shaky grounds of “but they’ll say I’m crazy.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Maybe that too is a part of real sovereignty.

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury RX in Pisces: Do’s and Dont’s

Foundations

M

iracles,

I hope that this little series on what to expect as we prepare for Mercury Retrograding through Pisces has been useful to you all. We are concluding today with a handy tip sheet of Dos and Dont’s.

Do use this time to brush up on your intuition.
Don’t give into impulsive decisions based on your intuition right now.
Do engage in a comprehensive review of your nighttime routine in order to encourage better dreaming.
Don’t try to numb out or hide from the tough stuff with booze, drugs, sex, or food.
Do make sure you drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep.
Don’t go into any romantic connections with unchecked assumptions or expectations.
Do consider re-structuring your daily spiritual practice so that it is on point and relevant for right now.
Don’t join cults or follow cult-like personalities – guard your energy.
Do maintain your boundaries.
Don’t over commit yourself.
Do make time for deep intimacy with your lover.
Don’t give in to toxic relationship patterns.
Do engage in creative and artistic work – especially wrapping up any creative projects that need to finally be completed.
Don’t run away from difficulties – they will only meet you later.
Do invest in art, creative pursuits, spirituality, and healing.
Don’t overspend your money, time, or any other resources.
Do review your health (on all levels) and if healing is needed, seek it out.
Don’t give into sham cure-alls.
Do understand that you are more likely to be sensitive and easily triggered at this time.
Don’t forget that the same holds true for everyone else.
Do be prepared to learn secrets and discover things that have been hidden – even from yourself.
Don’t be surprised when secrets spill out or when you accidentally share something you were supposed to hold in confidence.
Do believe.
Do not be gullible.
Do dare to go deep – this is the time for it.

xo,
Bri

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

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Hearth and Home Vol. 12 These Things Will Change

Foundations

L

ast October, my friend Danielle came to my home to take photos for my business and my family. One of the great things about having a professional photographer come into your space is that she will see things you might otherwise miss. Turns out I’ve been missing a lot!

Danielle gathered bunches of beautiful shots, including the unlikeliest — for example, our corner shelf which sits right by the piano (pictured above). This is the shelf where we drop our coats and jackets, bags, and purchases, and where we leave our shoes upon entering the home. It is not unusual to find an assortment of baby gear and toys, school papers, sports equipment, and a magical spray or two tucked into it this way and that. Danielle saw it and immediately captured it on film because as she said “This is precious. These things will change.” She went on to explain that the way that the corner shelf looked on that day in October will be radically different from the way it looks next year at the same time.

I’ve returned to this observation in the months since Danielle first made it because I find it to be such a potent reminder — these things will change. Big things change, as we know. We find new jobs, new lovers, we get married and go through divorces, we get sick, we heal, maybe we have children, eventually those children grow up, our dog dies, a little kitten decides we are their forever person…we’ve all experienced these types of changes. But in the background, humming away, are constant, much more subtle changes that, when properly grasped, can show us the progression of our stories with great detail. If we pay attention, we can find places that bear witness to these small changes. Becoming aware of and finding those places is one of the reasons I wrote Making Magic in the first place. They are often not the obvious places where you think alchemical transformation might happen: they are part of the every day – your closet, your morning cup of coffee, your front door, your corner shelf.

When it comes to magic, we tend to focus on the big stuff, the significant life changes. We seek ways to slow them down or speed them up, to get them jump started or to stop them altogether. In short, we often come to magic as a way of managing the big shifts and changes in our lives. When we approach magic in this way and pair it with wisdom and discernment we can experience awe-inspiring results. But seasoned soulful seekers look closer and go deeper, understanding as they do that the real sauce of magic happens not in the big moments and rituals and ceremonies but in the everyday knowledge that these things, all of these things, will change.

A trite saying is that every change carries with it an opportunity. I prefer to think that every change is an offering, cosmic hands stretched out holding a variety of choices and asking simply: What will you do today? Who will you be? How will you show up? Those options…and the ability to choose the best ones — that too is magic, some of the strongest that I know.

Some of the changes we have been experiencing in Casa de Saussy include:
Heath is this close to crawling!
Jasper loves playing basketball and Bach.
My book, Making Magic, is now available to pre-order and you can snag some lovely bonuses when you do so.
One of those bonuses, an audio recording of me reading the guiding story from the book was sound engineered by David (my beloved) who did an incredible job and delivered something fresh and gorgeous.
There are lots of new blog posts up at canto – some are talking about the upcoming Mercury Retrograde in the sign of Pisces that starts on March 5th and others teach rituals for having a healthier relationship to social media.
We are all obsessing over this album and I am loving this song which my husband introduced me to.

May you have a gorgeous New Moon in Aquarius and whatever else you choose – choose to be blessed and a blessing in turn.

xo,
Bri

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ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Protected: Star Stories: February 2019

Ceremony and Ritual

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury RX in Pisces: My Favorite Magic

Purification and Cleansing

J

ust a short and sweet note for you all today to share with you my favorite kind of magic when Mercury is retrograde through Pisces. If you have a rough day during this RX period, or if you just want to start the RX period off (or end it, or celebrate its midpoint) in an effective manner then Sacred Bathing and Spiritual Cleaning are your new magical BFF’s. Both of these acts rely on the power of water to cleanse, purify, and restore – these are elements that are native and deeply resonant to Pisces and they will serve you well during this particular RX period.

Happy Bathing!
xo,
Bri

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury RX in Pisces: Decoding Intuitive Messages

Divination and Dreams

M

iracles,

When Mercury goes Retrograde in the sign of Pisces one of the areas of our lives that springs into action are our psychic sensibilities and our intuition. Despite what some may say, the truth is that we ALL have psychic abilities and intuition. The big difference between “psychic” people and those who are less so is that some folks choose to exercise those particular muscles and other people choose not to.

Another difference is that everyone’s intuition works in different ways – some people are really good at intuitively understanding what’s wrong with a person’s body and physical health. Those people often become doctors, nurses, or health practitioners of some kind. They rely on hard science, data, and test results but underneath all of that is usually an intuitive sense of things that they themselves may not be aware of. The same is true for every field and industry – from business and finance to law enforcement and school administration.

So as you can see, the question is not whether you are intuitive or not but rather how to start relating to your intuition, getting to know it, and putting it to work. This particular Mercury Retrograde is all about that action! Pisces is the sign that rules our intuition – our deep sense of knowing so when Mercury retrogrades through this sign we cannot help but all feel a bit more psychic.

In the classical world Oracles always delivered their predictions in the forms of riddles, proverbs, or aphorisms – the information was always there but only a wise person would actually see it because a bit of unscrambling or decoding was needed. To some extent, this is just how intuitive knowledge works but this is especially true during Mercury in Retrograde.

So the rule of thumb when Mercury is retrograde through Pisces is that this is a great time to either commit to or brush up on a divination skill. Courses like this one or books like this one are great places to begin that process. My favorite way of learning a divination skill is to pick the skill I want to learn and then get readings with that particular format. You will meet a lot of cool people, invest in the art, and learn different styles and approaches to the same basic process along the way. If you let your reader know that you are a student of the particular divinatory art then they may even throw in a lesson – I often do!

While we are on the subject, it is useful to recall that your dreams are also part of your intuitive knowledge and that dreams are their own kind of divination. Pay attention to your dreams and begin journaling about them or discussing them in a dream group so that you can glean information from them.

While the above two approaches are highly favored during Mercury Retrograde in Pisces, it is equally important to remember that now is not the time to go off acting on every intuitive impulse that you have. Often during this period our intuition flows strong but in weird ways. For instance, we might need to do the opposite of what our intuition is telling us, or we might need to focus on every third word or image. (I know those sound like bizarre examples but I have actually seen both of them play out during certain Mercury Retrograde periods).

Dive into your oracular powers, learn to work with them and express them during this period. But be aware that you are doing just that…learning, so as I tell my 7 year old – double, triple, check your work. Don’t go acting impulsively on an intuitive flash and be open to second opinions from folks with more experience.

xo,
Bri

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Pisces: How to Dream Deep

Divination and Dreams

O

ne of the areas that Pisces is especially attuned to is sleep and dreams. In fact, Pisces is the sign of the bedroom so any bedroom spiritual cleansing, magic making, or protection ceremonies are highly effective at this time.

When Mercury is retrograde in Pisces it is a great time to take stock of your bedroom, remove anything that doesn’t belong there, add whatever you want to add and give the entire room a good cleaning. Change, clean, or buy a new set of sheets, pillowcases, and/or a comforter for your bed. This is a great time to buy a new mattress or flip the mattress over as well. Dress your mattress, sheets, and pillowcases with your preferred oils, sprays, perfumes, or sachet powders.

A lot of these little practical acts will also speak to your dream life. When I talk to my clients and students one of the areas with the Sacred Arts that they most want to explore is their dreams. Every night we each have 5- 7 dreams and rarely do we remember 2 or 3 dreams much less 5 or 7. If you have been yearning to go deeper into your dreams then this retrograde period is one of the best times to do a bedtime/sleep ritual review and set yourself up for success.

Begin by looking at your current bedtime and sleep habits. Not what you wish they were but what they actually are.

– Do you go to bed at about the same time every night or does it vary? (Studies show that going to bed and getting up in the morning at about the same time everyday lead to better sleep and better sleep leads to better dreams).

– What is the ambient light situation in your bedroom? Do you need more darkness? (Light pollution has all kinds of negative health effects). If you feel there is too much light in your bedroom and you don’t want to go in for window treatments try a sleep mask.

– What activities do you engage in right before you go to bed? Are you working on your laptop? Watching t.v.? Snuggled down with a good book? A good rule of thumb for deeper sleep and deeper dreams is to turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before you hit the sheets. Hint: this is a great time to REplace your smartphone alarm clock with an actual alarm clock.

– Do you have a bedtime ritual to signal to your physical body and your Holy Helpers that it is sleep time now? This can be anything – the traditional goodnight prayer is one example. You might want to light a special dream candle, cense your bedroom with an aromatic smoke or spritz the sheets with a relaxing linen spray. Personally, I like taking a few drops of this flower essence and rubbing this cream into my hands and my feet.

Cultivate Calmness, or engage in another stillness practice before sleep.

– If something is weighing on your mind and heart, try writing it down before you go to bed. You can write it as a question that you are seeking insight on or just write a couple of lines about it – you may end up dreaming the solution to the quandary!

– Keep a notebook and pencil by your bedside table for jotting down the dreams (or impressions) that you remember upon waking.

– Make dream discussions part of your daily routine. There are social media groups and forums dedicated to dream discussion and analysis that you can make use of, you can keep an ongoing journal of your findings, talk about dreams with your family members (this is one of the easiest ways to introduce children to the Sacred Arts) or discuss your dreams with a friend! One of my favorite books about dreaming is this one – it looks at the role dreams play in African American culture – a culture where dreams are still tended, nurtured, and taken seriously – as they are in so many parts of the world even today.

These are some useful starting points and as you go through this review you may discover other elements that come into play for you. Pay attention to your findings and then implement whatever needs to be acted upon. May you sleep deep and dream sweet!
And…if you want to truly optimize your Mercury RX experience do the Mercury RX Survival Kit – it opened for registration today.

xo,
Bri

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.