New Moon in Cancer – Honoring our Armour

Ceremony and Ritual

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ou know how to wear your armor and you know how to take it off. There are many ways to wear the armor that is yours, to be contained in your shell, keeping the most tender places protected and safe.

You can wear the armor all of the time, coloring it like a rainbow of blue, red, silver, and moonlight.

You can scurry back and forth in this shell, reviewing, remembering, and dream-walking your way through the past as you place one tentative arm into the waters of the future.

You can make it hard and bristly, this shell that never cracks open, covered with teeming life from the deepest part of yourself.

You can listen to the voices that tell you to put your armor on, to step out of your shell now, and know all the while in your backwards and sideways way how to stand again the tide of others and listen to your own voice.

You can shed your skin, set your armor down slipping out of it and into the deep waves shimmering in your wondrous naked flesh under the moon’s dark beauty.

You may swim strong in the knowledge that you know how to wear your armor and you know how to take it off.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Cancer

Divination and Dreams

C

ancer resonates with the element of Water and is a cardinal from June 20th through July 21st. Cancer is the 4th sign in the zodiacal wheel, marking the point of the beginning of Summer (Summer Solstice) and moving into deep Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice moving into early Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Represented by the Crab, Cancer speaks to safety, nourishment, sensitivity, and dreams. As the sign of the Crab, Scarab, and other beings with shells, Cancer, reminds us that we do not have to forgo our tenderness, only learn to protect it.

The Crab as Cancer

Within legend the crab is closely associated with Hydra a many-headed beast raised by Hera to kill the hero Heracles. The story goes that Heracles was driven mad by Hera and as a result murdered his wife and son. After committing this deed Heracles deeply regretted what had happened as he regained his sanity and sought out purification and redemption from the Oracle at Delphi.

Already we can see one of the first themes of Cancer make itself known. For the celestial Crab, family is of extreme importance. This does not always mean that Cancer natives or those with strong Cancer in their chart always have a good relationship with their families; certainly they can but like any other sign they may also have their own wounds around the concepts of home and family. The difference is the for Cancer issues with family tend to take front and center stage in a powerful way. It is not coincidental that the myth cycle within which Cancer appears, begins with the devastating loss of family.

In order to redeem himself Heracles was given 12 tasks by King Eurystheus and the second of these labors was to kill the Hydra. But this task proved difficult. For every time one of its venomous heads was cut off two new heads took its place. During Heracles’ struggle a large crab named Karikos emerged from the Underworld sent by Hera and attacked his foot. In some versions of the story Heracles crushes the crab under his heel at which point Hera takes it and places it among the stars while in other versions, Heracles kicks it so far into the sky that it comes a cluster of stars.

This aspect of the story too gives us vital clues about the way that the Crab works. Emerging from the underworld, emerging literally from the deep waters where the Hydra lived, Cancer, also is able to occupy in-between spaces – at home in the depths but also able to come to the surface. Just as the Crab pulled and pinched at Heracles’ foot, doing as its “mother” Hera commanded, so Cancer can show us where we tend to get tripped up, especially when we are so engaged in a single task.

So that is the official story but when it comes to the Crab what we often find is that what is on the outside does not necessarily indicate what is within. For just as crabs in real life have tough outer shells protecting tender insides so the story of Cancer the crab holds more mystery within it. Within the tale we see that there is a battle raging between Heracles who is depicted as a strong and mighty hero and half God, but who is also seen (even by sympathetic storytellers) as a prideful and arrogant hero, and Hera, the chief Goddess of Olympia and consort of Zeus. Often when we seen this set up of tension between Hera and a hero, what we are also seeing is a tension playing out between two different kinds of powers.

While it might be easy to shorthand this as a conflict between men and women or old and new, it is not quite that. For Hercules has men and women, old and young who come to his aid and Hera has the same on her side. Rather, what we see are two different ways of exerting power. How does one rule is one of the core questions brought about by the 12 labors of Heracles. And this is an essential question for Cancer, for as the cardinal water sign, the Crab has much to teach about wielding power and influence in a manner that is also healing and receptive in alignment with its natural element: water.

Within in the tale Hera vies for power by working in the background. She creates traps that Heracles must navigate by using not only his mighty arm but his head. Heracles on the other hand, relies overly much on his natural strength; a feature that, after the death of his family by his own hand, becomes both blessing and curse. His arrogance is his undoing time and again, and while he begins with 10 labors he adds on two more because he does not follow the prescription laid out by the King to which he owes fealty. And the issue of arrogance is one where Cancer speaks strongly. For the emphasis that this sign places on home, family, and tribe flies in the face of arrogant self-assertion. While other signs might say “but what about me?” Cancer asks, “but what about all of us?”

Hera is one of the great mother figures within the Olympian tales and this too speaks to an aspect of Moon-ruled Cancer as this sign has a strong affinity for mothers, motherhood, and is concerned with the question of what it means to be a mother – to oneself as well as to others. Nourishment is another theme that comes up strongly with this sign and Cancer is often found asking: what needs to happen to make it easier, to make it possible, to support someone deeply?

Long before the Greek story of Heracles and Hera and Karikos the Crab, the Sumerians and Babylonians saw Cancer as the window of the dark sun, it was a point in the sky associated with Summer Solstice as well as the Moon and it was understood to be one of the points in the zodiac that could assist one in “seeing in the dark.” This too is Cancer, for as a water sign, Cancer is deeply liminal – able to move from water to land, from one world to another and back again. The seeing that comes with such liminal work is not illuminated by the sun, logical thought or analysis, but rather by deep feeling, feelings which have the power to leave Cancer especially vulnerable, thus the tough exterior.

In closing I will note that Karikos, the ancient Greek word for Crab and proper name for Cancer, is a word that has cognates in many languages around the world – even languages that do not fall under the Proto Indic-European family have similar words for Crab. This small fact reminds me of another aspect of the Crab, the notion that even though we do have different tribes and family, at the deepest level we are linked to each other. It also tells me that there is much more to the story of the Crab than we are fully aware of, and that is appropriate for Cancer, for this sign innately understands that a little mystery is essential.

The Crab as Animal: By Sara Magnuson

Ruled by the Moon and the element of Water, Crab is an unlikely representative of the bright and fiery summer solstice and teaches us about awareness of, and reactivity to, movement, both literal and figurative.

Crabs are similar to insects in many ways and we have seen that correlation exemplified in the mythology and folklore. Biologically, they are similar in that their body is divided in sections, they have several pairs of legs, and are found on every continent and ocean. Even their circulatory systems are similar, but symbolically it is their exoskeleton that brings out the qualities they share. Hard on the outside and soft on the inside. They are covered in armor and protected from the outside world. While the Crab does not have ears, a nose, or skin in the way we can relate to as mammals, they have extraordinarily keen perceptions. Their hard-shell bodies are covered with delicate receptive hairs that pick up on vibrations, including sound waves (their version of “hearing”). These hairs also allow them to “smell” the pheromones of other creatures. Crabs don’t vocalize, but they create their own vibrations by drumming their legs or claws against a hard surface. They will also snap their claws to create sound that is picked up by the hairs on the bodies of other Crabs. The ability to detect the movement of vibrations, in the water, in the ground, and in the air, gives Crab a sensitivity that betrays its hard exterior.

In order to grow Crab must molt its shell, which is a very delicate affair. They have to pull themselves, bit by bit, ever so carefully, out of their shell and then wait while the new one hardens. It is part of the farmer’s folklore that Crabs molt during the full moon. This is not without some truth, as many common Crabs have a molting cycle of about 30 days. It is in this way that Crab follows the movement of the Moon and the pull of the tides, going through regular cycles of extreme vulnerability.

Crabs in general are not seen as wholly social or solitary creatures, although individual species will have their unique behaviors, rather they are social or solitary as it seems to suit their needs. They will migrate to the shore together in enormous groups and will also defend their mates and burrows (places of singular connection or solitude) to the bitter end. In human personality terms, they can be extroverted or introverted as needed. Crab’s ability to flow with the movement of a situation is admirable!

Of course, we can’t talk about Crab without talking about it’s literal movement. Crab’s eyes appear to face forward on its body, yet they walk in a sideways manner, not looking in the direction they’re going. Crab’s are able to walk forward and backward, but the orientation of their legs makes sideways locomotion more efficient. Their almost 360° vision allows them to walk in any direction and still see what’s going on. Crab teaches that approaching things “sideways” can be helpful and provide a new point of view. Crab asks us to remember that the path that leads to your desires may not be a straight line.

The energy of Crab may manifest in those born under this sign in many ways – they may be very perceptive to the energy of other people, especially those close to them, and can equally give off a lot of energy themselves. It can also manifest in using the “sideways” aspect of Crab in a manipulative manner; always looking for an alternate way into a situation to suit their own purpose. Ruled by the element of water, Crab can have a tendency to make things into something they are not; remember that Water can create illusions. The darkness of the Moon, the flare of the Sun, the pull of the tides, the movement of cycles and vibrations – Crab is extraordinarily sensitive to these influences.

Call on The Crab When…

  • You want to re-connect to your sense of home and sanctuary.
  • You desire the protection of family, close friends, and tribe.
  • You are ready for deep and abiding nourishment; including changing your dietary habits or becoming clearer on nutritional needs.
  • You wish to explore the various roles of the mother in your life.
  • You need more moonlight!
  • You wish to nurture yourself or others.
  • You are taking a retreat.
  • You are working to increase peace and tranquility in your home or family life.
  • You need more poetry in your life.
  • You would like to pay more attention and/or remember your dreams.
  • You want to develop a divination skill.
  • You are increasing your privacy and protection.

Be Wary Of

  • Dependency relationships are awesome but sometimes Cancer-strong people can take their love of family to a truly intense level. The attitude here becomes one of a smother mother” or a dependent child. There is a difference between associating with family because you love your people and like to be with them, versus never leaving home because you are afraid that you cannot stand on your own.
  • Passive-Aggression Cancer-strong people do not like conflict and so will do their best to steer clear of disagreements. But they can manifest their displeasure through subtle emotional manipulation or passive aggressive behaviors that undermine others. Cancer is the cardinal sign of water which means that it does like to take on a leadership role; part of leading is being comfortable with your voice and using it, do that and the passive-ag tendencies will just float away.
  • Buying into Illusions Cancer-strong types are illuminated by the light of the moon. They love to peer into the shadows and frolic in the oceans. While this liminal space is wonderful for dreams, depth, and sacred arts work of all kinds; it can have a hard time with the real world, here and now. Cancer has to learn how to create solid foundations under their aerial castles when they do there is nothing that can stop them!

Questions to Ponder for Cancer:

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

  • What is my relationship to home and family?
  • What does sanctuary mean to me? What makes a place a sanctuary? 
  • How can I best nourish myself and others?
  • Where am I overly protective?
  • Where does privacy really matter to me? What do I do to maintain privacy?
  • What have I learned from my relationship to my mother?
  • What are my dreams telling me?
  • What actions do I take that allow me to connect with the Moon?

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 at the shoreline where the sand meets the sea. It is night time and the stars twinkle high above your head while a gorgeous Moon shines down illuminating everything with her brilliant light.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel the taste of the tangy salt air on your tongue, the sea breeze whipping through your hair, and your feet curled up and sinking deeper into the sand as the tide comes up and pools around your ankles. Soon, you feel little legs scurry across your foot and a tiny little pinch…not hard at all, grab your big toe.

Bending down, cup your hands together and as you do so a crab crawls into them surrounded by sea water and foam. Affirm and acknowledge that you are safe holding this little being in the palm of your hand, no harm will come to you and no harm will come to it.

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 Crab, Cancer.

Acknowledge that it does not matter where Cancer 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 crab dancing across the skin of your palm. Affirm that this dance is the way that the crab communicates – sending you messages through vibration across your skin. Note what this initial message might be.

Breathe in a blessing on yourself and your Crab familiar, exhaling in gratitude.
Then, as you are ready, ask the little Crab what you need to know about true home and nourishment right now.
Listen to the answers you receive as it tip, tap, taps into the palm of your hand.

Affirm and acknowledge the answers and, as you are ready, ask the Crab any other questions you have at this time.
Take time to listen with care.

Then, as you are ready, bend back down, letting your hands drift into the ocean water as the Crab scuttles away from your palms and back into the depths of the sea. 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 returning to true home once more.

Altar/Ritual

PERSONAL EGG CLEANSING RITUAL

First, obtain a chicken egg. If you can get a fresh chicken egg, great, but going to the grocery store is fine. We advise you to buy the most free-range, well-fed, happy-life chicken eggs you can.

Place the egg on your altar and light a white candle. Sit with it for a while and focus on cleansing yourself of any negative thoughts or energies to make space for balance between your wants and your needs. Focus on the desire for clarity in distinguishing the difference between what you need to be whole and what you wish to be true; clarity in distinguishing the illusions of the watery darkness from the daylight of reality and the ability to balance their messages.

While the candle is still burning, pick up the egg. Beginning at the crown of your head, gently roll or brush the egg over your body. You can lightly touch the egg to your skin if you like, or you can brush the egg against your aura, a few inches above your skin, but be mindful of the delicate object you’re holding. Remember – hard on the outside, soft on the inside.

If you are holding the egg against your skin, roll it gently over your body. If you are brushing your aura, think of it as sweeping yourself off, using several brush strokes over each area, as you would a broom. Gently and slowly move the egg over your entire body in a downward motion, moving away what you want to be rid of toward the ground. Be sure to go over each shoulder, arm, and hand, your torso and pelvis, each leg and foot.

When you are finished, put the egg in a brown paper bag. Take it outside and throw it as hard as you can to break the egg, thus releasing what you want to be rid of. You can do this at a crossroads or against an old sturdy tree. I have also done this behind a dumpster, where my worries, troubles, and struggles would be “taken out with the trash.” The goal is to let go of and release that which is not serving you to make room for balance.

About my Co-Author:

sara-magnusonSara Magnuson  is a crafter of spiritual supplies, a reader of cards, a diviner of animals, and the co-founder of Candlesmoke Chapel. Her personal practice is eclectic, animistic, and ancestral. The guidance she provides is based in the messages of Nature and its role in how we move through this world.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The Best Sacred Arts Artisans

Foundations

M

iracles,

I have already share a list of my favorite resources for herbs, roots, and plant allies and I thought it was time to share a few more of my favorite spiritual suppliers and Sacred Arts artisans.

Spiritual Supplies are commonly understood to be oils, incense, powders, perfumes, waters, washes, candles, altar goods, statuary, talismans, and the list goes on.

As always, I do not receive any kind of kickback or financial incentive for these recommendations, they are simply folks I know and have worked with and have found to provide consistent high quality supplies.

First, pride of place goes to the sacred arts artisans who are also graduates from the Miracle Tree Sessions. Obviously, I am partial to these fine folks as they are students of mine who have gone through the MTS and I know them all personally and adore them.

Three Cats and a Broom — Jen has all kinds of magical goodies from a Rue water that is delightful to a wonderful breast health formula.

Candlesmoke Chapel — Sara and Joseph offer wide variety of spiritual supplies with a focus on oils and cleansing/blessing kits.

Kunst Magic — this is Jacquelyn Tierney’s site for bespoke, vintage, and one of a kind magical objects of art.

Paige Zaferiou — is a good witch who makes great tea. Sit down, have a cuppa, and throw down some cards!

Gatheress — Shelley Henry’s one of a kind magical goodies – her scent based alchemy is beyond exquisite.

Aidan Wachter — makes incredible talismans of all kinds. Pure magic in metal.

Stone Angel Studios — Jennifer Kaufman creates one of a kind works of art, sculptures, and jewelry that honors the Sacred with every step you take.

 

 

Other incredible sources for magic:

Rosarium Blends — Wonderful oils, incenses, and alchemical concoctions.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab — specializing in oils and perfumes

Twilight Alchemy Lab — sister company of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab selling mostly oils with a Conjure/Hoodoo bent.

Black Arts Foundry — Sarah does lovely work specializing in flying ointments

Lotus Wei — Flower Essences, sprays, perfumes

Green Man Essences — another excellent source for single note flower essences.

Big Dipper Wax Works — beeswax candles including pillars, tapers, and devotional glass candles.

Alchemy Works — Harold stocks oils, incense, seeds, medicinal, magical, and poisonous plants.

Apothecary’s Garden — Dan stocks fine frankincense, a number of different resins, and hard to find ingredients like Civet musk. He has incredible ethics in his business as well – something I very much admire.

Lucky Mojo Curio Company — specializing in hoodoo and conjure supplies.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

New Moon in Gemini: Blessing for Lovers of Learning

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

Learning is often seen as boring. Prim and proper, learning wears glasses and has its hair tied up in a neat bun and only speaks at library appropriate volume. This is the story many of us have been told and bought into. So what would you say if I told you that one of the greatest figures in philosophy was guided by the Delphic Oracle and an inner voice? Or that the theory of relativity came to Einstein in a dream? That chemistry not so very long ago was in a vibrant conversation with its wild sibling, alchemy?

In my experience within our community of soulful seekers, school has been a mixed bag – either you loved it or hated it and not much in between. But across the board the sense that there is something more, something other, that not everything worth believing in can be empirically seen or justified, can sometimes make the entire process of learning feel alien; as if it is something for others but not for us. (This is part of the motivation behind the “get out of your head and into your heart” speak that you all know I find very unhelpful). I am here to tell you differently. Under the New Moon in Gemini on Thursday, let yourself come back into a wild and loving relationship with learning and the seedbed from which all learning springs up from: Wonder.

Here is a blessing to keep you company as you do.

Blessed One(s) in whom we live, move, and have our being.
You have been called by many names: Daimon, Genius, Brilliance, Intelligence, but we know you as Wonder.
As we embark on new discoveries and seek to increase our knowledge and wisdom hold us fast to your starry visage.
Remind us that learning is not measured by how much is known but rather by the quality
and depth with which we know any one thing.
Call to our minds keen-eyed Attention and sharpened Discernment so that we are fully able
to pierce through misleading illusions and see things as they truly are.
Teach us that wisdom begins not in having all of the answers but rather in asking the
one needed question.
Help us remember that this journey is not one we must make on our own but that we are
joined to a community of souls who have gone long before us and who will come long
after we are gone, and that within this community it is safe not only to know, but safe also
to admit when we do not know.
Fill us with Wonder, Blessed Ones, keeping foremost in our minds and hearts, bodies and souls,
that it is not what we know but how we live within that knowledge that shows best who we truly
are and all that we are capable of achieving…
These things we ask in the heavenly and earthly and always blessed names, may it be so.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Gemini

Divination and Dreams

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emini is attuned to the element of Air, and is a mutable sign. The Sun is in Gemini from May 20th through June 19th. Gemini is the 3rd sign in the zodiacal wheel, marking the transition from deep Spring into early Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and deep Autumn into early Winter in the Southern. Represented by the Twins, Gemini speaks to communication, connection, ideas, writing, and speech. As the sign of the cosmic Twins, Gemini also inspires us in all of our deep friendships and in the fellowships we hold and keep with one another.
 

The Twins as Gemini

Twins show up around the world in story. Usually they are identical twins, and though often one is male and the other is female, in many cases they are depicted as two brothers or two sisters. Anytime we see twins show up in story it is an indication that we are working with the themes of double-ness and mirrors – for a twin is, after all, a mirror image made flesh. It is for this reason that in many stories one Twin descends or lives in the Underworld (whatever that world looks like for the culture telling the story), while the other Twin lives up on the topside world or in the heavens. The Twins oppose each other but in their relationship we also learn that a necessary tension must be in place for growth and development to occur.

This is one of the core teachings of the sign of Gemini. There is an old saying “don’t rely on a Gemini,” which Gemini folks of course don’t appreciate, but the truth is more nuanced. For Gemini can appear fickle or unfocused (and sometimes, like all of us, is), but more often Gemini is doing the work of uncovering opposing forces and listening to the tension between them. This is why you will find that wherever you find Gemini in your chart, you are encouraged to do one thing only to turn around and then seek out its opposite. And that process, of identifying opposites and sitting with the tensions they create, is part of what allows us to learn – one of the primary gifts of Gemini.

It all begins with an egg, appropriate for this deep Spring sign. For it is from the egg that the twins Castor and Pollux sprang forth, for Zeus had turned into a Swan to seduce their mother, Leda. Now while in many tales the twins are separated and inhabiting different realms, this was not the story for Castor and Pollux; they were brothers in everything, always together, and rarely apart. And yet, there was an aspect of their relationship that they did not fully comprehend which was that only one of them had been fathered by Zeus and was therefore immortal; the other had a human father and so could be killed.

Of course we see the presence of Gemini in the fact that as the story unfolds the twins are going to discover who they really are, they will learn, but we also see it in the realm of partnerships. Who are the people and what are the activities that you are engaged with and in throughout the course of your life? What and who are you closest to and what matters most about your friendship? Gemini is interested in getting to the essence and communicating that essence out into the world.

As the story goes, Castor and Pollux end up in a lethal fight to the death where Castor is slain and Pollux is rescued by Zeus at the last possible minute. Pollux is so devastated by his brother’s death that he decides he cannot go on living without his boon companion and so requests that Zeus turn both he and his brother into stars that can shine out forever, side by side. Zeus acquiesces to this and so the brothers are able to remain together, albeit in changed form.

This gives us another clue to Gemini, for Gemini is not afraid of change but rather welcomes it. This goes hand in hand with Gemini’s love of learning – we learn something new and it changes us, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in a much more significant manner. But it also shows us another essential element to Gemini which is that Gemini is very relationship driven – siblings, friends that are like sister or brother, and the tight relationships that Geminis form matter deeply to them. They may not always express that in words, but Geminis care deeply and they will sacrifice themselves and their own happiness if they see clearly how that sacrifice is needed by the relationship as a whole. This need for connection, deep and solid connection, is another strong feature of the Twins.

While the story of Castor and Pollux is relatively minor compared with many of the other Greek dramas, these two brothers have a habit of showing up, in the star forms, to light the way for other heroines and heroes, sometimes they show up just in the nick of time to protect someone that they especially love, sometimes it is simply their presence in the sky that gives hope and guidance. As such, they have a strong association with both sailing and horsemanship – both skills that require a strong sense of navigation, control, and another supremely Gemini trait: optimism.

For that is the real beauty of Gemini – it does not need to solve mysteries, rather it is willing to learn from them, let what it learns create the needed changes, and then from those changes find direction and share a message that brings hope and inspiration to all who are willing to listen

The Twins as Animal: By Sara Magnuson

The Twins of Gemini ask us to revisit the fact that humans are also animals and to examine what seems to set us apart. Gemini focuses on our unique intellect and the duality of our human-animal nature. We know that humans are not the only species of animal that have self-awareness, a highly developed intelligence, the ability to communicate, or express feelings and empathy. These traits in general do not make human animals unique; many other species possess these characteristics to varying degrees. What makes the human animal unique from other animals is the same thing that makes all creatures unique from each other – how we develop and use those traits.

{Disclaimer: As we talk about what makes humans different from other animals, we must begin with the understanding that our knowledge of how other animals perceive the world is speculative. We have ways to study some of the cognitive abilities in other animals, but there are aspects of perception that we do not yet have the ability to uncover, therefore we think we know what makes humans unique. It can be argued that other animals do feel/sense/think all of the things we’re going to discuss, not just humans. So as you continue reading, please add “as far as we know” to the end of every sentence. I humbly ask you to remember that there are entire fields of study dedicated to the subjects discussed and I am only touching the surface of what is being explored.}

Gemini is associated with the element of Air and focuses on the mind and intellect of the human animal. A unique quality of the human mind is self-awareness and self-contemplation; we have a concept of inner self, inner identity, inner awareness that is distinctly human. We spend a lot of time considering ourselves, reflecting on our thoughts and actions, in ways that are not directly related to our immediate survival or reproduction. A benefit of this self-awareness is our capacity for compassion and empathy; we are able to consider how we affect the world around us. As we have seen in the stories above, the Twins teach us about cause and effect, about the invisible ties of meaningful relationships, and how to achieve the most appropriate balance.

The human mind can also do something called “mental time travel” that appears to be unmatched by any other in its degree of ability. Mental time travel is the awareness of your past and future; it is hindsight and foresight; it is the ability to reflect on what was and what will be. It is recently being discovered that other animals, especially birds, also possess this ability, but it is generally accepted that humans are able to mentally travel much further into the past and future than any other animal. For example, a seven year old child has ideas about what they want to be when they grow up, which is many years into the future, versus a bird’s ability to contemplate what may happen a few days from now. As we will see, this capacity for self-awareness and contemplation has its benefits and its challenges.

The Twins of Gemini present us with the concept of inner duality. We contemplate and often struggle intellectually with our ability to see both sides of the many aspects of ourselves, be it our child/adult sides, our masculine/feminine sides, our greedy/giving sides, our warrior/peace-keeper sides, what we believe is right or wrong in general, etc. The concept of morality appears to be uniquely human, especially the way in which we impose it on ourselves and the degree to which we judge others by it. The Twins ask us to look at how we impose our ideas of morality on our own circumstances, as well as those of others. Do we hold one to a higher standard than the other? Are we putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes, so to speak, while making sure our own voice is heard? Are we expressing ourselves in a way that feels true and fulfilling?

When my best friend and I talk about situations in life that we’re trying to navigate, we often reference “the committee” in our minds. Imagine a boardroom table and at each seat is a representative of the various aspects of your personality; there’s the five-year-old-you, the rebellious-you, the peaceful-you, the envious-you, the day-dreaming-you, the all-about-business-you, etc. Depending on the situation at hand, select members of “the committee” have something to say about it. These are the voices of our mind and our morality; the inner voices guiding us and working with us to make beneficial decisions.

The Twins of Gemini are like two of the most quick-minded voices on “the committee” talking out different sides of the issue. You can weigh out both sides of something forever, but in real life you are often faced with having to eventually make a choice or a decision. The Gemini mind is sharp and quick, but can get bogged down in the infinite possibilities of life. The work of the Gemini soul comes in finding a resolution to that inner monologue and is a process that is especially human.

Call on The Twins When…

  • You need to see both sides of a situation with clarity.
  • You want to tap into and express your inner duality.
  • Clear communication is desired.
  • Connection with others and the ability to listen is sought after.
  • Learning, excelling in school, and cultivating one’s knowledge is needed.
  • Making friends, restoring friendships or honoring current friends is your focus.
  • You wish to draw new friends to you.
  • There is a need to strengthen or cultivate relationships between you and your siblings – including the friends that are really like brother or sister.
  • You wish to share your message, your insight, or your thoughts with many others and need the right words to do so.
  • Publishing in any form is desired.
  • Your writing/communication style needs to be honed.
  • You have questions and are seeking out answers.

 

Be Wary Of

  • Being Overly Non-committal – The desire and ability to see both sides of a situation or problem can lead to difficulty making choices and an inability to commit to things.
  • Speaking Out of Both Sides of Your Mouth – Because Gemini is a natural communicator words often come easily to those who demonstrate this sign strongly; but the meaning behind the words may be less of a focus. What to others might be taken as “talking out of both sides of one’s mouth” related to the fickle behaviors described above, to a Gemini is simply choosing the right words for the right audience. As always discernment is key.
  • Mental Exhaustion – Gemini loves to learn, to share, and to communicate, but sometimes these very things can also lead to significant burn out. Gemini does best when it slows down and fosters the connections that truly matter.
  • Superficiality – Like all Air signs, Gemini can sometimes be too content to stay on the surface of things and not peer deeper into the waters. For the same reasons Gemini can be attracted by all bright and shiny objects and go off course easily; maintaining focus should be emphasized.

Questions to Ponder for Gemini:

  • What do I want to learn?
  • How do I best communicate with others?
  • What kinds of communications am I most responsive to?
  • How seriously do I take the words that I use?
  • What is the role of friendship in my life?
  • What am I willing to speak up for?
  • How do I stay focused?
  • What do I love to discover?
  • What is the message I bring to the world?

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 front of a shining mirror. The mirror may be in a building, it might be in a room that has special significance for you, it might be outside; note where your mirror shows up and how it appears to you.

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 Twins of Gemini.

Acknowledge that it does not matter where Gemini 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. Then, allowing your eyes to open, see, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel, your presence before the mirror and the reflection in the mirror looking back at you. Affirm and acknowledge that you have come face to face with your Twin, but this is the part of you that will live on through the legacy that you create and all of the many ways that your presence has, will, and can change the cosmos.

Breathe in a blessing on yourself and your Twin and exhale in gratitude.
Then, as you are ready, ask your reflection what message your legacy will carry forward.
Listen to the answers you receive.
Affirm and acknowledge the answers and, as you are ready, ask your Twin any other questions you have at this time.
Take time to listen with care.
Then, as you are ready, speak aloud the actions that you will take to the reflection in the mirror, affirming and acknowledging that this is a promise you make to your Twin and to yourself.

In the true spirit of Gemini, go out and live those actions!

Altar/Ritual

For this ritual we recommend completing the active imagination journey first. You will also need an altar space, which can be your existing altar or you can create a new one just for this. Gemini asks us to focus on duality – light and dark, earth and sky, etc. – so you will be working with pairs and “sides” of your altar space. This is an important exercise in harnessing the dual energy of the Twins and bringing a grounded balance to the constant mind-chatter.

Spend some time collecting pairs of objects – go through items you already own and find two that seem to go together; they can actually match, or they can just “go together” by their feeling to you. They should also have meaning to you, don’t just pick random things. Spend some time outdoors and/or looking around when you’re out doing things throughout the day. Collect any pairs of natural objects that match or feel like they go together for you.

Bring all of these objects near your altar space, as well as a favorite cloth or covering for the surface and any other items you consider necessities for a sacred space. The point is to have your altar-making supplies close at hand.

Sit at your bare altar space and reflect on the active imagination journey – reflect on your present self and the messages of legacy from your Twin, reflect on the actions you spoke aloud and the promises you made to your Twin/Yourself.

Choose two words or short phrases that represent each of the two sides of the mirror, the two sides of yourself that were shown. Write each word or phrase on its own piece of paper. It can be any kind of paper that feels right to you for the occasion and you can write it plainly or embellish as much as you want. There is no wrong way.

Divide your altar into two sections, either horizontally or vertically, and use whatever material or visual barrier you see fit. In a purposeful way, speak aloud what is written on one of the papers and give one side of your altar that name. Place the paper in the center of that area. Next, speak aloud what is written on the other paper and name the other side of your altar. Place that paper in the center of that area. Naming is a very sacred rite and this should be done with the same focus, force, and intention as any such ceremony would require.

Now look at the pairs of objects you have collected and, in your mind, focus on the two sides of your altar. What best represents the name of each side? What do they ask to have placed upon them? Listen to the objects themselves. Where do they feel called to go? Hold them in your hands and place the pairs on the side of your altar that feels most appropriate. Remember, the two sides do not have to have an equal number of items and you don’t have to use them all. Pay the most attention to your intuition.

When you feel each side is complete, turn your attention to one side in particular. Examine the objects that have been placed there and reflect on how they represent the name of this side of your altar, one side of the mirror. See how the pairs you have chosen are similar, but also how they are different. What do their similarities and their differences have to teach you about living into the actions you promised to take?

As you work with your Gemini altar, focus less on how the two sides (and the pairs upon them) are different, and work with the balance of energies that tie them together. Spending time at this altar, daily, weekly, or monthly, will guide you ever closer toward fulfilling the promises and living out the actions that you have promised to yourself.

About my Co-Author:

sara-magnusonSara Magnuson  is a crafter of spiritual supplies, a reader of cards, a diviner of animals, and the co-founder of Candlesmoke Chapel. Her personal practice is eclectic, animistic, and ancestral. The guidance she provides is based in the messages of Nature and its role in how we move through this world.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Ask and Answer Tarot Meanings: The Chariot

Learning and Community

F

ollowing on the trail of the Lovers, today we are going to explore the Chariot in this next Ask and Answer Tarot post, the companion to my e-course, 20 Question Tarot.

Remember: In the Ask and Answer Tarot series I am going to give you 6 questions that each Tarot card inspires you, the reader, to ask either yourself or the person you are reading for and 2 questions that will help you get to know the card a little bit better.

The Chariot

Card Number: VII

Ruling planet: The Moon

Element: Water

Season: Autumn

 





Questions for the Lovers:

These two questions will help you get to know the Chariot a little bit better:

1.) There are three primary figures in this card, the individual driving the vehicle and the two sphinxes what is their relationship to each other?

2.) Looking closely at this card we see that the golden wheels are not depicted as touching the ground so we have an image of the Chariot transcending or on the verge of transcending the green earth what do you make of this?

 

Questions from the Upright Chariot:

When the Chariot card appears upright in a reading, these three questions will help you reveal its message.

1.) Where is the movement in this situation?

2.) What is the alignment and cooperation in this situation?

3.) How do I transcend this challenge?

 

Questions from the Reversed Chariot:

When the Chariot card appears reverse in a reading, these three questions will help you navigate its advice.

1.) How can I best address the lack of cooperation?

2.) What elements need to be brought together in order to achieve victory?

3.) What is the tension in this situation creating paralysis?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The Stories that Sound ~ Blessed be our ability to listen

Lunar Letter

M

iracles

Most of you know that I love stories, myths, faerie tales, and folklore. I work with them as the primary source material from which the Sacred Arts spring and can best be taught and practiced.

Most of you know that I love stories, myths, faerie tales, and folklore. I work with them as the primary source material from which the Sacred Arts spring and can best be taught and practiced.

Many of the stories I focus on are faerie tales, because they are stories surprisingly and refreshingly made for all the risky, unsafe tough stuff of life. There’s some real medicine in those stories. And so many of these stories are well-known and well-loved, often with a twist or flourish that sets them apart from the “usual” ways of telling.

But the most important stories are all around us. These are stories that happen to us on a daily basis, stories that can – when seen by the right light and told in the just right way – show us not only the blessing, but also the best way to apply it to our life.

Here’s the thing about story. We usually think stories are “fiction”, and “non-fiction” is reserved for facts. But if you look into it, into the stories that really make an impact on your life, I’m willing to bet you’ll agree with me when I say that for the really powerful stories, the ones that make a difference in the way we live, the truer the better. They wouldn’t hit us if they didn’t have that ring of truth. The category that rigidly holds the separation between fiction and non-fiction? Um, not very useful, really, when you get down to brass tacks.

If stories do this, that can only mean there is something in life and experience that calls out for the telling. Every now and then – or even often! – life throws us a curve ball, a swerve, sometimes terrifying, sometimes wondrous, sometimes both – but always worth telling about, always worth remembering, always worth learning and growing from.

The stories I work with in teaching and crafting the Sacred Arts are stories that function like echo or depth-sounding in oceanography.

The greatest stories – and different ones will work for different people – penetrate our depths. They show us that we have untold depths first of all, and then they show us something needed about ourselves. They show us ourselves, or some aspect of ourselves we haven’t yet seen or felt. They make our bones vibrate and our hairs stand on end; we know them when we hear them or read them. They have the power to change us, not simply because they move us, but because they heighten, deepen and sharpen our awareness of ourselves and of life. They nourish our consciousness, which grows as a result – and this growth in consciousness is magic, possesses the actual power to begin unlocking and freeing our soul from those deepest most troublesome patterns, binds and wounds.

All of my work in the Sacred Arts, in a very real way, is about encouraging you to seek out those stories for yourself, the ones that “depth sound” your life.

And what I would love you to grasp, as this week takes us into the deeper than deep Scorpio full moon is this: the experiences and stories that depth-sound us, happen to you too, every single day. So it is that I say: blessed be our ability to listen, to truly listen, to what we see and experience and encounter; blessed be our ability to listen so that we might find our own stories that sound.

I would like to share with you one of mine own stories, one that depth-sounded my life, in exactly the moment I needed it. It is a true story, and is an origin story, showing me the way to the Sacred Arts standpoint from which I now work:

The night I saw the white horse, the moon was small and her light was dim. I had traveled with some of my family out to Fort Davis in West Texas, land at one time known only to the Great Spirit, the Comanche and Apache, and later few intrepid ranchers. And now those who had commandeered the top of a mountain did so under the unquestioned authority of science. And on this mountain, where perhaps one could watch a sunrise and know something of beauty, concrete had been poured and metal bolted down into the flesh of rock as glass-filled spaces where before there was only wind.

This was built in the name of science and for people like me who had poor vision from living in the city and rarely beholding a horizon. Built so that I might look through a lens and get a taste of the sacred and the vast that those who came before us knew as they knew their own breath or the blood dancing under their skin.

A dark moon is best for stargazing. But a small, dim moon will do. I looked through the lenses reflecting and refracting light into the galaxy with her milky thighs, and saw the scars on the moon. I beheld these things and wondered if the others around me—family and strangers—thought as I did that by beholding her scars and perfect light we might somehow better know our own.

The night grew darker and cold with a February wind blowing off the river and through the trees, singing a story of lowing cattle huddled together under the humid warmth of their breath, a story of a springtime full of wildflowers, tender green cactus and good pasture. We drove down the side of the mountain, quiet in wonder at ourselves, at our smallness, our hubris. The steep road twisted and turned until it spat us out onto the single main road running through what would have been another town, known more by the dead than the living, had it not been fueled by the stars.

Now the road was wide and black and the air was blacker still. Out here in God’s country, there are no streetlights; and the few houses we passed held darkened windows. It was late, and jobs being what they were, one got up with the sun and evidently went to bed with it too. And that is when I saw it.

At first I did not know what it was. A white blur in the middle of the broad black way. The powerful beams of the truck illuminated it, but the shape was so far away, that it could have been a woman drunk and crying, a spirit, perhaps even a concentrated and rapidly moving fog bank.

Except even then there was direction, electricity, and purpose. This was a creature and it was headed straight for us. As it neared, I gasped out “horse!” and so it was.

A beautiful animal at least eighteen hands high and in the flash between black and headlight, it was pure white. It swerved, and with eyes rolling, it passe our vehicle and continued galloping down that road, carrying with it a legacy of power, exertion, and grace that came up from behind and stole away the breath.

Overhead was a different light. Not star nor moon, not the glow of the animal itself nor the two bright headlights, but a spotlight from a helicopter looking for the animal. The owner must have been distraught-the horse looked well-cared for and healthy: someone loved it. And perhaps whoever was looking for the animal was concerned about it too – its loss, and the fear that travels in the wake of loss like a knife laid against the thin skin of your chest.

I want to believe it was not simply leather-handed men and women worried that a rogue horse with such power and at a full gallop could cause a wreck, or a death, or could damage something or someone and result in the spending of money. I choose to believe that they cared for both creature and family-desiring to put their job-calloused hands to the work of touching, repairing, healing and reuniting. I wanted it too, for inside the glass and steel vehicle, so like the glass and concrete observatory on the mountain, I had felt the eye-rolling fear, the steaming breath smelling like clover once warmed under a gentle sun, now covered with dust. But I felt also the thrill.

Oh, to run!

To run straight for the other side of the knife we call fear, cutting a trail made of celestial dust and star-fire blazing forth, so that those with courage might follow it to something new and unknown. The white horse was running, and I wanted it to run into the night, into what stretches beyond broken people and fractured places, where it is dark, and whole, and wild.

Under the light of the magical Scorpio Moon, with your divination tool of choice consider asking:

What are my depth-sounding stories?
What would change if I did listen to it, or share it with others?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.