Prayer for the Solar Eclipse

Lunar Letter

M

ay we shine.

And as we shine, we know that we journey, one foot in front of the other, carving out the regular cycle of our stories, the circular motion of cell and breath and life, and that during this journey there will be interruptions.

We trip and we fall as we wander our course, sure as the Sun and Moon also trip over themselves in their giddy rush to meet one another once more, falling into each other’s limned embrace.

And as we rise up with our skinned knees and elbows we might, if we are brave, we might, if we are something close to wise, say “thank you” – hearing within the interruption a call to attention and awareness, discovering grace in the fall.

Seeing too the patterns to which we have clung and agreed and perpetuated knowingly or not, and taking the moment of rising to decide if we still wish to walk in this particular way on this particular path, knowing that the choice resides within, as does the answer.

And as we choose, righting ourselves once more, traveling our path with greater purpose, we no longer fear the falling, the missing of the mark, or the wandering off the course and into the wild and star-filled woods. Rather, we welcome the moments of panic and loss, recalling the freedoms that they hold alongside our own true commitments, knowing that they bring us ever closer to the embrace of our own deepest Beloved.

And so, burnished by shadow and bruised by our falling, we shine ever brighter.

Image credit: The above image comes from the book Sun and Moon, which I first heard about from the fabulous Arts and Culture blog, Brainpickings. Sun and Moon is published by indie publisher Tara Books, dedicated to giving voice to marginalized art and literature, and featuring the work of ten Indian folk and tribal artists illustrating ancient stories about Sun and Moon.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The Ways of Life and Death in Stories and Soulful Seeking

Sacred Arts

M

iracles,

People turn to the Sacred Arts when they are ready to get real. What I see over and over again is that those drawn to the Sacred Arts and the stories that have carried them down through time do not come from any one specific area of life. I could not do a marketing profile or customer avatar for them if I tried. Of course this makes sense – the Sacred Arts have been practiced and developed by all sorts of different people through all times, so in a very real way they belong, and they call to, all of us.

But whether it is a college professor, a doctor, a lawyer, or a potion brewing witch that I am speaking to, here is what I have seen and heard: the return to the Sacred Arts comes about because each individual is ready for an experience that is more real. The sense that we are sleeping through life as surely as the Miller’s Daughter slept through the transformation of straw into gold is no longer acceptable. We have been jolted awake and the world of weak fantasy no longer has a hold on us.

Frequently what jolts us into wakefulness is a vision of beauty, the breath of Enchantment on our cheek, a plain, every day, occasion that turns into something no less than a straight up miracle. But sometimes the things that jolt us awake are painful, traumatic, and the causes of great and deep suffering. Stories work with both sets of experience as well as the mundane moments when the Otherworld just shows up unannounced in the form of a Fairy Queen washing clothes or a cat that talks.

Stories that deal with pain and suffering are actually much more common than we think. Many of our best beloved stories have bloody parts that were deleted by later adapters and collectors in order to “protect” children. In some of the oldest versions of Cinderella, for instance, the evil step sisters have their heels and toes sliced off in order to squeeze into those damn glass slippers. (Of course, in the oldest version of Cinderella the slippers are not glass at all but warm, fur-covered moccasins – how far we have drifted from that older than old telling). In the Tale of the Handless Maiden, a perfectly sweet and innocent young girl’s hands are chopped off by the Devil, and Handsel and Gretel are two young children who find themselves starved, neglected, abandoned, and then almost cannibalized in turn.

So many of our stories deal with pain and suffering because they are experiences that we all have, and, as I said earlier, they are experiences that season us so that we are ready to wake up and get down to business. Among my clients and students, few experiences carry the power of wakefulness that Death does. This is what the sister stories of Medea (from Ancient Greece) and La Llorona (from Indigenous Mexico) speak about. They tell us about Death and the many ways it comes in and makes itself at home in your kitchen and at your table. They speak to us of the destruction that occurs when oaths and vows are broken. And, more than that, they challenge us to find a different way, tell a different story, and make a different ending.

The Sacred Arts speak to Death and contain many rituals for the moments of Death that we all experience, as well as ceremonies and healings when Death approaches and for the aftermath Death leaves behind. Soulful seekers understand that Death is part of a natural cycle of Life and as such we honor it and create magic to help us relate to it in ways that are healthy, whole, and holy.

Our next guest teacher introduction is something of an expert on Death. Martha Jo Atkins. Dr. Atkins founded the Children’s Bereavement Center in San Antonio, Texas. She has, in her own words, always had an affinity, curiosity, and comfort around dying. She is also a magical woman who understands the needs to create meaningful ritual and ceremony around the roles that Death plays in our lives. Listen in to a clip of our conversation and learn more.

Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Magical Missives: Solar Eclipse Magic + How to Banish

Learning and Community

M

Miracles,

Apologies for the re-send of last month’s Magical Missive email earlier today (and a hearty bow and thank you to Mercury Retrograde!) Some of you wrote to me already telling me how much you liked it – which is awesome – but it is not the correct magical missive for this month!

This month we are focusing on the Solar Eclipse that occurs on August 21st. Eclipses are my favorite time to break patterns and I find solar eclipses to be especially strong for this work.

When it comes to breaking a pattern there are several steps involved. The first of course is clearly identifying the pattern that you need to break. Some people like to write this down, others like to talk it over with their magical study buddies, and still others like to go into the liminal and talk to their holy helpers about the patterns that are showing up, gaining further insight in the process.

The next step is to decide what you want to replace your old pattern with. If, for example, you are trying to break the habit of smoking then you will want to replace it with something healthy – maybe eating more greens, or something fun like ballroom dancing!

Then you are ready to banish the old pattern, story, habit, or belief, and call in the new. There are thousands of ways to banish (banish is a fancy word for “get rid of”) things you no longer want or need. While there are elaborate rites you can perform my favorite ways of banishing are simple and straightforward.

What you will need:
Yourself
A quiet space
To think about what you really want and need to banish

Ceremony:
Cultivate Calmness
Breathe in a blessing on yourself, affirming and acknowledging that when we breathe in completely and fully we say YES to life and to all that nourishes us.
Breathe out whatever it is you are ready to banish, breathe out fully, exhaling completely, so that whatever pattern you are releasing is fully let go and set down.
Take a moment to feel into the space that you have created by releasing whatever it is you needed to release.

Final act:
Breathe in fully once more and as you do so, breathe in whatever it is you are filling that space with – in our example above it would be “eating more greens for health and vitality” or “ballroom dancing for fun”. Breathe it in fully and then take a moment to offer thanks as it falls into place.

Patterns broken. Banishment done! Have a blessed eclipse!

In love and blessings always,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Sacred Arts, Faery Tales and the Wild

Ceremony and Ritual

M

Miracles,

You return from that trip to an exotic place – or perhaps to the wilds of nature. There to greet you on the front porch steps is your life again, waiting for you. Then what?

You discover something unsettling.

It’s like you’ve never left in the first place. For awhile you feel fresh again, but then all the bills are there, the push and pull and tensions of everyday living are. still. there.

Ugh! What’s happening? We try to get away and refresh, and maybe it works for a little while, but then the same problems crop up – and repeat themselves.

Since the days of Rousseau (and actually much earlier), all too often we’ve accepted the view that the natural wild is a realm “over there” away from where we live, from our lives.

To begin our journey then, our really soulful work, we believe we must somehow make a big leap, if it were even possible, over into that realm and start from there.

In truth, not only is no such leap is necessary, but the leap itself can actually makes things worse. For the wild – the true wild – is a property of the heart and the real inferiority found in us and in nature, within relationship; and it is found in those encounters where we least expect it. That can happen to us wherever we are – in the car, in the doctor’s office, at the bank, on the street, in the city, the country, the mountains.

Now many important lessons can be learned by stepping outside the human realm and into nature, or outside the familiar to a realm that is foreign and different. Don’t get me wrong.

For the Sacred Artist, it is simply a matter of where you begin. As the old stories teach, the exotic realm is not the wild at all, and not a starting place, but a kind of abstraction. Where the true movement begins is right where we are.

The story of Sir Gawain and Lady Ragnelle – the guiding story of Module IV of Spinning Gold – speaks directly to this, and how it plays a role in a life that manifests real enchantment.

It begins with the scene of a deep betrayal, and as a consequence the land of the kingdom in the story dries up, crops wither away, and there is no longer water, moisture, or vitality of any kind. People are not able to have children, all of the food crops and animals are destroyed, the living land turns into one perilously close to death. Spiritually, psychologically and pragmatically, we lose the power to manifest our dreams, desires and intentions.

A betrayal occurs or is experienced: someone tells us “not to quit our day jobs” or that our “sister is really the talented one” or that our art making, prayer making, sanctuary building, word crafting, is a “nice hobby”.

Sometimes the betrayal happens within: every time we tell ourselves that there isn’t anything worthwhile or relevant or meaningful in the creative work we are called to do, anytime we stop ourselves before we even start by getting busy cleaning or talking to a friend or doing five errands all before noon, then we too feel that icy wind blowing across our soul soil and snuffing out our creative spark. Creatively we feel “stuck”, “frozen”, “bored”, “dried up”, “numb” and “dead”.

And so, in order to right this wrong and bring life back to the land, Sir Gawain, bravest and truest knight of the Round Table, is given a specific task: he must learn the answer to a singular and shining question.

And so must we, in our own context, learn the answer to the question.

Failure to do so results not only in the loss of life for the land, but also in the loss of Gawain’s own life. (So you know, no pressure).

Gawain goes into the wild, and it takes him the traditional initiatory time, a year and a day, to discover the answer to his question, an answer that comes at a wild and wondrous price as those familiar with the tale know. Without spoiling the ending of the tale, I can assure you that both life and true wildness return to the kingdom.

The quest, the traveling into parts unknown, and wondering through the deep wild wood, are all necessary steps along the way to retrieving the fuel that can keep the creative spark burning and it is this way for us as well.

Like Gawain, we must brave the icy wilds, go on a quest and find the needed answers that will provide fuel for our brilliant and bright spark to burn once more.

But the wilds need not literally be wilds – like literally wilderness area. For it is only when he returns, that the real magic begins to move: he has an encounter that changes everything and restores wholeness.

Gawain’s story and teachings focus specifically on the Sacred Arts of Ritual and Ceremony and concrete practices you can try out.

The story, like all the fairy stories we encounter, speak in particular ways as helps in breaking down the idea that there is this world of here and now and another world of dream and magic that we can yearn for but never fully participate in.

The practices we learn in the Sacred Arts of Ritual and Ceremony, as well as others, help us weave the worlds back together through stories and the Sacred Arts.

Those soulful seekers who practice the Sacred Arts can attest to not only more creative vision and ideas, but more creative vision and ideas that become concretely manifested so that they may be shared with the world. We should expect this result. For if we can learn to see gold in straw, then we can certainly remember the ways to care for a practical intention or a project from start to finish, so that it is able to emerge fully whole and intact.

And it is those concrete manifestations of your creative brilliance that turn anywhere you are, and everywhere you are, into terrain that is wild and overflowing with wonder.

The next Spinning Gold guest teacher I would like to introduce, Ryan Edward, is all about the intersection between the Sacred Arts and creativity. With several Tarot and Lenormand decks to his name, Ryan’s work has been published by US Games and is beloved within the Sacred Arts community, and for good reason: his work is quite gorgeous and his skill is matched only by his kindness. In fact, as a professional designer, he sees the the creative work of design as a form of the Sacred Art of Divination. Intrigued? Give it a listen!

Bri

Ready to Spin some Gold? Register Now 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Magical Missive: Fast Action Fire Power

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles,

This is an old-fashioned recipe that comes straight out of the Hoodoo and Conjure tradition. It is for anyone who has experienced misfortune and needs to turn their situation around stat! But it is also appropriate for anyone starting a new venture who wants to call fast acting luck to their side.

What you will need:
1 red or beeswax devotional candle
blend of the following dried herbs:
• alkanet leaf
• crushed vanilla pod
• spearmint leaf
• pen & paper
• green & red loose glitter
• olive oil or a Fast Luck oil like this one

Significance:
Alkanet leaf is a traditional botanical ingredient in ceremonies where luck, action, or power is sought out. It is also a botanical used for its red dye and the color red has its own set of associations that also speak to power and good fortune. Alkanet is also a traditional ingredient used in New Orleans style Fast Luck oil.

Vanilla Pod is both sweetening and warming and whenever you create a ceremony to bring something quickly you want to include warming ingredients.

Spearmint leaf has a sharp, aromatic, scent that is used to cut through messes and also cut through delays bringing clarity an decisive action along in its wake.

Glitter to decorate your candle and make it pretty!

Ceremony: General Instructions for dressing vigil candles

If you are working with a paraffin candle, poke holes in the top of it – I like to make 3 or 4. You may use an ice pick, screwdriver, knife or other tool for this.

If you are working with a beeswax devotional candle as I do, then you are going to have a much harder time poking holes into the candle. Instead you may proceed without the holes.

Combine your herb mixture. Sprinkle 2-3 pinches of your herb mixture onto the candle.

Drop 3-4 drops of oil onto the top of the candle.

Add any curios like magnetic sand, small bits of pyrite, or lodestone gravel and finish with glitter.

Note – you do not want to “drown” your herbs in oil nor do you want them to be so dry that they catch fire when you light the candle wick.

Write out your petition and anoint the petition paper with the oil you used to dress the candle.

Place petition underneath candle, bless the candle with focus and sincerity for the manifestation of your desire.

Knock the candle 3 times to “seal” it, and then light it, allowing it to burn undisturbed.

Obviously do not leave a flame unattended unless it is in a fireproof container.

Final act:
After your candle has finished burning, you may look at it and see what shapes you find in the glitter and debris. These may be construed as signs and give you information as you work to read the candle.

In love and blessings always,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The Baba Yaga, Creativity and Time

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles,

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from people interested in taking Spinning Gold is: how much time will it take? Perhaps you’ve heard me say before that any teacher you consider working with should be willing to learn from her own experience and to change her mind when appropriate.

My response to this question has changed over the three years that I have run the program. The best way I can answer the question is: the rest of your life.

Because, seriously, that’s what we are talking about when it comes to the Sacred Arts. These traditions and practices are ancient. They were, in many cases, the first witnesses to culture being created by our long-ago people.

When we devote ourselves to learning the Sacred Arts and working with the primary source material of myth and fairy tale from which they spring, we are devoting ourselves to a life-long project.

Ghandi spoke the following words, springing from a deep tradition of Sacred Arts practice, which speaks directly to what I’m getting at here:

Learn as though you were to live forever, live as though you were to die tomorrow.

Anyone who has worked with fairy tales and myth will tell you that the stories grow in their influence and impact on your life as time moves forward. And anyone who has made a serious study and practice of any of the Sacred Arts will say the same – the more we discover the more uncharted terrain we see that there is to explore.

So that is my best answer. This is a lifetime commitment. Not to me, and not even to the program per se – although current and past students do receive lifetime access to the material – but to yourself. Your are committed to your insights, your discoveries, your bone deep knowing, and most of all to your experience of enchantment for the rest of your life. It’s a pretty good match, one that allows you to experience every single day as more full of magic, not less!

It is popular to say in our uber busy world that a program will change your life in 5 minutes, 2 hours, 10 seconds a day – much like the attitude towards online learning in general.

This promise of little effort and maximum results can yield a sexily high market share. But only for awhile. Two things happen almost immediately: the first is that people catch on. And the second is that you start to notice that whatever it is you are producing – your creative vision, strategic plan, or new venture, reflects the paltry amount of time put into it.

Time is required for you to do your best work no matter what it is and time is required for the things that really matter to you in your life.

A wonderful illustration of this can be found in the third story we work with in Spinning Gold. The Baba Yaga is an Eastern European and Russian story steeped in the wide mountain ranges and deep forests of that area. The old Baba Yaga herself (as I was taught she is always the Baba Yaga and not just Baba Yaga) is the million year old woman who created the world. She speaks to the Sacred Art of Lineage and Legacy – that is the ability to connect with, learn from, and know your past history and stories as well as ability to envision, create, and call-forward your future possibilities. In other words, her hands are quite full. And the Baba Yaga takes her time – literally.

For at three different points in the story a knight in shining armor on a white horse, red horse, and black horse consecutively comes busting out of the Baba Yaga’s chicken-footed house and rides headlong into the deep woods. We later learn that these strange knights who seem in some ways tangential to the rest of the story are actually the hours of the day.

The white horse represents Dawn and all of the hours from Dawn until Noon. The red horse represents noon tide and all of the hours between Noon and Midnight. And the black horse riding knight is Midnight and all of the hours between Midnight and Dawn. That scratches the surface of this part of the tale – for red, black, and white are traditional ceremonial colors associated with many medicines as are horses and as are the helper figures of knights.

But what I want to impress upon you all today is that the Baba Yaga who is a deeply creative force keeps her time close to her. She does not fritter it away, spend it all in one place, or give it up and over easily to someone or something else.

This is only one tiny learning from the Baba Yaga; there is so much more as Spinning Gold students will find.

Everyone who is drawn to Spinning Gold has a rich inner life including dreams and visions that they want to bring into the world here and now. Many of the students within the program and those considering the program already have some kind of daily practice which they wish to deepen. All students care about learning more when it comes to the Sacred Arts – and the truth is that this takes, time as any meaningful, creative work does.

Practically speaking, to keep up with the program it is a good idea to allow 3-4 hours a week of study time, plus 5-10 minutes a day for your daily practice. And just as the Baba Yaga has a life that supports her relationship with time, so too will you be supported in your Spinning Gold journey – by the Spinning Gold alumni who have walked the road that you are walking, in our private facebook group, by the course caretakers and guest teachers, and by me – through the optional one-on-one meetings, the weekly office hours, and the teaching calls.

Another way that we deeply support you? Alumni and this year’s students will have lifetime access to Spinning Gold– that means that you can (and most do) take the course again and again to deep their journey. (Full disclosure: as Spinning Gold grows and changes I do not know if the lifetime access part will remain; to make sure that you have it, I do recommend signing up this year. That’s not a strong arming sales tactic – just the truth).

At the end of the day, making the time for an intensive study and practice of the Sacred Arts and what it means to live an enchanted life is up to you, but myself and my team want to support you in every way that we can. And as it turns out, making the time is a good habit to cultivate across the board not just when it comes to Spinning Gold. In fact, creative people talk all of the time about how you have to make the time to do the work that you really want to do. Case in point? Our next guest teacher.

Najah Lightfoot is a new guest teacher this year, added to our growing group of Sacred Artists in the Spinning Gold Resource Library. Like The Baba Yaga, Najah is a witch and rootworker who possesses a unique perspective on time and creativity – she is also a published author with Llewelyn publishing company and is working on her first book! She shares with us her journey from wanting to do something creative and meaningful to actually doing it, and talks about what was required along the way….listen to a clip here!

In love and magic~
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Leo the Lion

Divination and Dreams

L

eo resonates with the element of Fire, and is a fixed sign. The Sun is in Leo from July 22nd through August 22nd. Leo is the 5th sign in the zodiacal wheel, marking the point of the deep Summer moving into late Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and deep Winter moving late Winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Represented by the Lion, Leo speaks to creativity, boldness, influence, luxury, Kingship/Queenship, and self-expression.

The Lion as Leo

Like its preceding sign of Cancer, Leo is strongly associated with the legendary figure of Hercules and his first task, defeating the Nemean Lion. But the story of Leo starts long before that. Like the sign of Taurus, the constellation of Leo has been recognized almost universally as that of a lion. It is one of the oldest constellations of record recognized in both Sumeria and Babylon and has always been associated first and foremost with royalty and kingship. One of the original 48 constellations described by 2nd century Ptolemy, Leo is now among the 88 recognized constellations today and a beloved site in the sky for star gazing due to its uniquely bright stars.

These two initial features of an association with royalty and bright star clusters already give us a sense of how Leo works. Often one of the more maligned signs of the Zodiac, best expressed in the unkind statement “All ego Leo,” Leo is actually the point within the Zodiac, and within our own natal charts, where we discover what hidden talents we have that support us in rulership and also in shining brightly.

Kingship has long been associated with this sign and it is worth noting that to be a King or to be a Queen did not always mean seizing power unlawfully and lording it over the peons. Many ancient traditions had various ways of electing or appointing their royal rulers and in many places the mark of a good King or Queen was the health and well-being of their people and land. Along the same lines, just as Cancer is associated with the Mother and the Mothering qualities that we all possess, Leo is associated with the Father and the Fathering qualities that we all carry within us. While working with Cancer we were encouraged to get clear about our relationship to our Mother, our ability to Mother and the connection between Mothering and nourishment, Leo supports us as we meet our inner Father and work on our relationship to power.

The story of the Nemean lion is clearly a tailing of a much older story that involves the wild God Dionysus and his rock and roll ways. Dionysus is the God of the Grape, Wine, and the Wild. He is described as a “foreign” God meaning that he was not Greek originally and most likely much older. He is also a dying God, one who dies back and then resurrects again each year, just as the grapes and other greeneries do. In the legends that surround Dionysus we see a powerful and charismatic deity who is charming and persuasive, especially to women.

Flirtation, charm, enthusiasm, and fun are all classic traits that Leo shares with the God of the Grape. But Dionysus was not interested in women in a sexual manner for the most part, he was interested in having a party and the more influential the people who showed up were, the better. In this way too Leo is invoked, for as Leo situates us with respect to our personal power one of the natural questions that comes up is where do I, and where do I not, have influence?

Dionysus was strongly associated with the Lion and is often depicted wearing a Lion skin (and little else). Cut to the tale of the Nemean Lion – a Lion who held women captive in order to persuade their men to come and attempt to rescue them, and then, when the men did arrive, would devour them.

In actual history the rites that honored Dionysus were in many cases open only to women and men were strictly prohibited from participating. One notable exception to this are the tragic and comedic dramas that were performed in Athens every year as part of the rites in honor of Dionysus. Leo, of course, is the sign most strongly associated with the theatrical arts.

The Nemean Lion was defeated by Hercules and the women were set free, but in a curious move, Zeus, the headsman of the Gods (and the father of Dionysus), elevated the Lion into the heavens and created a constellation of him. Some say this was to honor the heroic feat of Hercules but others find this move to be telling that the Nemean Lion was a stand in for Dionysus – a God who wielded a very different kind of power, just as Leo can.

The Lion as Animal: By Sara Magnuson

Lion – King of the Jungle. Except Lions don’t really live in the jungle, but we’ll get to that.

Lion generally brings to mind power and strength. In fact, it’s hard to see Lion’s weaknesses for all its grandeur and magnificence. The strengths of Lion are obvious and many; nonetheless, let’s paint a clear picture of this glorious creature.

Panthera leo is the second largest Cat, after Tiger, and lives primarily in savannas and open grassland. Lion is an apex predator and a keystone predator. This means that Lion is at the top of its food chain and it is prey to very few. As a keystone predator, Lion plays an important role in controlling the population of its prey. Weighing in at 400-500 lbs and 6-11 ft in length (including the tail), they are formidable to say the least. They can run up to 50 mph, strike their claws with over 300 lbs of force, and bite with over 600 lbs of pressure. Like all Cats, their senses of hearing, vision, and smell are exceptional and are most acute at night. Lions rest (i.e. lay around) for 16-20 hrs a day – again, like all Cats – but that’s where their similarities end.

Unlike any other Cat in the Felidae family, which includes house cats, Lions are social. They live in groups we all know as a pride, which consists of 2-4 males (called a coalition), 5-7 females, and their offspring. Each adult Lion plays a very specific role and cooperation is key. Females are at the core of the pride social unit and do not tolerate outsiders. Prides are lineage-based and membership almost always only changes with the birth and death of the females within the pride. Few Lions live solitary lives and those that do spend most of the time looking for another pride to join. It is rare for females to accept a lone Lioness into the pride and males will only accept lone males after fierce battle.

Lions are also unique among Cats in the way they express gender, physically and behaviorally. In most Cats, there’s no obvious difference between males and females; you have to look at their genitals to tell them apart. Lions, on the other hand, exhibit sexual dimorphism – an outward, physical distinction between the sexes beyond their reproductive organs.

The mane of the Lion is the most obvious difference from the Lioness and tells many things about him. How big or small his mane is, how thick or thin it is, and its color all tell about genetic preconditions, sexual maturity/testosterone production, and climate. It turns out that darker fuller manes are usually favored among females. The larger of the two sexes, his role in the pride is very distinct – eat, mate, defend territory, protect other members of the pride. He rarely hunts, leaving that to the Lionesses. When not patrolling the borders of his territory, he is often found looking after the cubs while the females are finding dinner. The lifespan of the Lion is about 10 years, much shorter than the Lioness’ 14-15 years, and cause of death is typically injury from other Lions. He is best at defending and protecting and that’s what he does.

The Lioness is an elegant and complex creature. It is within and amongst the women that the cooperative nature of Lion shines. Due to her slightly smaller size and lack of mane, Lioness is the more effective hunter – she is swifter, more agile, and aerodynamic than her male counterpart. While they can run very fast, they can only do so in short bursts, so if they miss a catch it’s usually due to lack of endurance. Within their hunting groups, each Lioness plays a very specific role that is strictly observed and carried out. Some females fan out to the sides, while others flank the prey, and still others do the actual pouncing. Their maneuvers are smooth and precise because they know and trust that each Lioness will fulfill her position on the team.

The cooperative nature of the Lioness goes even further with raising their young. The females of a pride will synchronize their menstrual cycles to facilitate cooperative cub rearing. It is much easier to have groups of cubs that are around the same age rather than cubs at all different stages all the time. Females share the duties of providing the general needs of the cubs and are diligent mothers. The Lioness moves all of her cubs to a new den about once a month so their scent doesn’t build up and attract predators of the babies. At 2-4 years of age, male Lions are pushed out by the females to join the other adult males, while the young females remain with the core group of Lionesses.

Lions collaborate, coordinate, and unite. All this cooperation provides many benefits – protection, maintenance of territory, less injury, and kin selection (i.e. increased survival of kin vs self). Lions are extraordinarily distinct from one another in their appearance and actions and those born under the sign of Leo contain all the qualities of both the Lion and the Lioness. One could not exist without the other. The true power of Lion is twofold – power comes from complete ownership of its strengths and weaknesses; and power comes from an unflinching trust in the pride. Each Lion knows what it’s best at and doesn’t try to be something it’s not. Lion walks proud with its golden fur shimmering in the sunlight, daring anyone and everyone to question their identity.

During the Sun’s transit through Leo, we ask all of you to draw on the powerful energy of this heavenly body and, no matter what you look like on the outside, own yourself in all your magnificent glory. Draw on the nature of Lion and Lioness and know that you are a strong, powerful, majestic creature.

Call on The Lion When…

  • You want to cultivate a sense of power and authority.
  • You desire to shine bright and bold!
  • You are ready to take your creative life and vision seriously.
  • You wish to bring more luxury and quality into your life.
  • You need more fun!
  • You wish to express yourself more sincerely and authentically.
  • You are ready for the spotlight.
  • You are excited to bring more play into your life.
  • You need more enthusiasm in your life.
  • You would like to take more care with your physical appearance.
  • You want to associate with power brokers and influential people.
  • You want more passion!

Be Wary Of

  • Arrogance – There is a fine line between Pride and Arrogance and Leo often has trouble spotting exactly where that line is. This is a wonderful area of the chart to work with when you need to develop a sense of healthy pride and ownership, but watch out for that pride turning into the kind of arrogance that can result in the loss of friends, allies, and so much more.
  • Selfishness – Wherever Leo occurs in your chart is a place where you are very much meant to be seen and heard. Well and good but this can easily turn into a feeling that you and ONLY you are the figures that matter. Leo rules the heart of the body so it is a good idea to keep it firmly in mind that when we come from our heart we make room for everyone and nip any selfish “me and only me” attitudes in the bud.
  • Superficiality – Leo can encourage us to take more pride in our personal experience – to look and feel glamorous (whatever that means to you). When we are in the high Leo vibe we often love to get shiny jewelry, a new hairdo, and some nice makeup. There is nothing wrong with that but Leo does well to remember that outer appearance and inner essence really are two different things, they can speak to each other, but don’t mistake one for the other.

Questions to Ponder for Leo:

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

  • What is my relationship to power and authority?
  • What is the realm that I “rule” over?
  • Where do I have a special ability to carry more influence and clout?
  • What is the role of play in my life?
  • Where do I love to spoil myself?
  • What have I learned from my relationship to my father?
  • What luxury am I ready to indulge in?
  • What am I creating?

Meditation/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 in a great savanna under the blazing sun. The light around you is golden and the sun’s warmth feels good on your skin and a soft breeze blows through your hair.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel the golden light all around you and the beat of your own heart. As you are ready, see, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel the appearance of a great golden Lion that is running towards you in time with your own heart’s rhythm. Affirm and acknowledge that the proud beast means you no harm.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel its golden presence and it comes ever closer to you. When you are ready look into its tawny eyes and feel its hot breath on your skin. 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 celestial Lion, Leo.

Acknowledge that it does not matter where Leo 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 and so we can all learn from it.

As you are ready, close your eyes and take a deep breath in. See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel, the presence of the Lion before you. Affirm that its powerful form is part of its message. Note what the initial message is for you at this time.

When you are ready, breathe in a blessing on yourself and your Lion familiar, exhaling in gratitude.
Then, ask the Lion what you need to know about power and creativity right now.
Listen to the answers you receive and it begins to lick your palm with its sandpaper tongue.

Affirm and acknowledge the answers and, as you are ready, ask the Lion any other questions you have at this time.

Take time to listen with care.

Then, as you are ready, breath a blessing onto the Lion’s face and then see, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel as it retreats back into the tall grasses. Affirm and acknowledge the blessing you have received.
As you are ready, bring awareness back to your present place here and now, and then set about your work of claiming your deep power once more.

Altar/Ritual

For this ritual we’ll be honoring the masculine/feminine sides of ourselves individually, as well as the place where they blend – all under the shining glory of the Sun.

What you will need:

4 candles – red/pink, blue, purple, and yellow (any shade of these colors is fine)
3-5 Items that represent your masculine side and/or represent masculinity in general to you; these should be positive symbols for you; the goal is to *honor* the masculine side of yourself; suggestions – an arrow, a horn or antler, a High John the Conqueror Root
3-5 Items that represent your feminine side and/or represent femininity in general to you; again, these should be positive symbols for you; the goal is to *honor* the feminine side of yourself; suggestions – a pomegranate, anything in the shape of a circle, a Queen Elizabeth Root
1-5 items that represent the blend of masculine and feminine within you, the parts of you that are not gender specific
Optional – if you already identify with a particular spiritual path or cultural group, use items that symbolically represent male, female, and gender-blending and/or gender-neutral within that context to further your connections.

The Ritual:

Think of your altar as a triangle, with two base points closest to you and the peak opposite.
At the right base point, place the blue candle.
To the right of the candle, place the items you have chosen to represent masculinity.
At the left base point, place the red/pink candle.
To the left of the candle, place the items you have chosen to represent femininity.
At the peak, place the purple candle.
Above the peak, place the items that you have chosen to represent the blend of masculine and feminine.
In the center, place the yellow candle to represent the Sun fueling the triangle.
Light the yellow Sun candle first.
Next, light the candle that you identify with most (it’s ok to light the purple candle first) and move toward the candle that you identify with the least.
As you go, draw power from the Sun and the candle you lit first.
Moving on, use that power to honor the other parts of yourself and the knowledge within them.
Sit with candles for at least 10 minutes, meditating on the flames, the symbols, how they work together, and the everlasting Sun catalyzing the effort.

Let the candles burn as long as you can without being interrupted. If you must put them out, be sure to re-light and sit with them again until they’ve burned completely down. Once complete, collect any leftover candle wax and bury it outside all together.
Collect the symbols you used during this candle rite and arrange them however you see fit – keep them on your altar or create separate spaces for each part of the triangle. You can also bury them outside with the candle wax, again all together.

Remember: always observe common sense fire safety when burning candles!

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.

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.