Surviving Shadow Work Lesson Three: Living With Shadows

Learning and Community

A

iracles, shadow

Today marks our final lesson in this mini-teaching on Surviving Shadow Work. You can access lesson one here and lesson two here. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for the kind emails you have sent, full of your own stories of survival and shadow work – it is such an honor to bear witness to each and every one of them.

So in our final lesson I want to touch on how we LIVE with our shadows. Once we have discovered them, seen them, found medicine for them and applied it…then what?

Go back to our first lesson and recall that the origin of the idea of shadow work started with Carl Jung. We don’t have to be Jungian scholars to understand that Jung’s ultimate vision of a happy, person with a healthily functioning psyche was one of integration, meaning that the healthy psyche was one where shadow and light, good and bad, desire and restraint, all have roles to play.

In some cases, usually in cases of severe trauma, recognizing the root cause of a shadow is a really significant act and the shadow itself – once properly treated – simply disappears.

But for most of us what we find is that we discover a shadow, find the needed medicine, treat it successfully, and then integrate it into our waking life in various ways.

For some of us that will look like relying on the right medicine and making sure it is available to us.

For others it is sufficient awareness of what situations might trigger your shadow and the subsequent avoiding of those situations.

Still for others there is a sense of peace and healing that goes hand in hand with renewed energy and activity.

The point that I really want to make here is that we all live with our shadows in different ways, but living with them is really what we are meant to do.

Even in cases where one shadow seems to have completely been illuminated (and thus disappeared) there will be more shadows…there always are. That is not a bad or good thing, just truth.

However, we can make choices in our daily lives that feed our shadows or don’t. And we can choose to look at our shadows when we are ready to or not. So many of those choices constellate around how much strength, endurance, and support you have in your life at the given point in time. For this reason attention to the things that nourish you here and now is of paramount importance.

In short, we live with our shadows best when we discover what truly sustains us at present.

So, for your final prompt I would like you to consider that: what truly sustains you and how can you bring more of that sustenance into your life?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Surviving Shadow Work Lesson Two: Focusing, Finding and Applying the Needed Medicines

Learning and Community

A

lright Miracles, shadow

Today we are going to work in a very particular way with the area of shadow that you identified for yourself after reading yesterday’s lesson.

As I wrote there, the biggest challenge around engaging in shadow work is getting stuck in the psychic underworld, never ascending, never returning to life here and now.

I believe this is such a challenge for the age-old reason that any journey can be perilous – distraction. For when we plumb our depths and experience the underbelly of our thoughts, feelings, actions, and beliefs we often find much more than we bargained for.
We may have started our journey with one area of shadow in mind and find ourselves months or even years later so far off course that we couldn’t tell you what we were trying to do in the first place. In some traditions, this is referred to as being fairy-led and there are many stories that deal with the theme: from the Biblical tale of Lot’s wife to the ancient myth of Orpheus, to the classical work of Dante. In all cases, the protagonists deal with the very real possibility that in their foray into the Underworld (where our shadows reside) we run the risk of getting stuck and never ascending.

Which brings us to the question of how one avoids falling into the trap of distraction and making the actual ascent back into the world here and now. The answer is simple: stay focused, find the needed medicine, and apply it immediately.

Let’s break this down into three steps with the help of a hypothetical story. This is a true story from one of my clients who gave me permission to share, the name has been changed for obvious reasons.

Amy dreams of public speaking. She has had offers to go and speak in front of crowds and lead gatherings because her work is popular and known. But Amy does not like to be in the spotlight AT ALL. Not because she is shy – she isn’t – but because she is very comfortable with people’s eyes on her. Amy came to me to have some divination on this situation and also to do some liminal work around it – she realized that some shadowy reason was at the root of her resistance to being seen and wanted more insight on it.

We worked together and this is what she found:
Amy realized that the shadow she was dealing with concerned her dad. He would come home from work every day tired and angry and looking for someone to take it out on. Since she was very tiny Amy learned to hide, in her bedroom, among her stuffed animals, to avoid his wrath.

This brings us to Step One: Stay Focused.
Amy did not need to do a lot of work to discover the deep cause of her discomfort with the spotlight. A little divination, a little liminal work, and she knew what the situation was. At this point Amy had a choice: she could continue with the shadow work by seeking to understand WHY her father was the way he was OR she could deal with the issue at hand – her discomfort with being seen. You can see how tempting it is to take it further, to get just a little more information, but you can also see how that journey takes us farther away from the goal – which was to support Amy in public speaking and being seen by people. Amy wisely chose to deal with the issue at hand. She knew what her shadow was, now what?

Step Two: Find the Needed Medicine.
Amy had mentioned that she always hid among her stuffed animals. A little more divination and a few questions later, we had determined that one stuffed animal, in particular, a lion, had really made her feel especially safe and secure. This was ONE medicine that resonated with her situation and addressed her shadow with potency. From there it was obvious what needed to happen. We were ready to move to Step Three: Apply It Immediately.

Now we did have a moment where we had to get creative because Amy’s little lion was long gone…and a grown woman probably couldn’t take a stuff lion on stage with her! But, we did discover that there are tiny stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes, many that attach to a key chain. Amy found a lion she loved, I loaded it up magically for her, and she attached it to her key chain. She takes it everywhere with her and guess what? She also does lots of public speaking now. Amy had a successful encounter with one of her shadows because she stayed focused, found the needed medicine, and applied it immediately.

You can do this as well: go back to the shadow you wrote about in the last lesson. Think and feel into it and try to recollect what medicines supported you when it was an active force in your life. There may be several such medicines but most likely, one will stand out. Then ask yourself: how can I apply for this medicine today and immediately?

In our final lesson, we are going to talk about what happens next, after the medicine has been applied.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Surviving Shadow Work Lesson One: What Is Shadow Work and Why Do It At All?

Learning and Community

H

ola Miracles!

The above picture features Hades, one of our two cats, and he has graciously agreed to be our familiar during this intensive on Surviving Shadow Work.

Why, a cat, you might ask?

Well, Hades and his sister Aphrodite, were born right after their mother was rescued from Houston during Hurricane Harvey. If anyone knows about surviving the shadows it is this little guy!

So, in order to make a beginning it would probably be useful to define what shadow work is. This is my definition and it may or may not align with what you have heard before.

Shadow work is any physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and/or therapeutic work that we engage in that puts us face to face with the aspects of ourselves that we typically do not see or acknowledge.

Carl Jung coined the term “shadow” to refer to the unconscious mind and thus we often see “shadow work” as a term employed in various psycho-spiritual disciplines.

A couple of notes about my definition and how it might differ from what you are familiar with:

1.) Shadow work is not exclusive to the emotional realm. Often we think of shadow work as something that occurs exclusively through our feelings but this is not accurate, we can engage in shadow work with multiple faculties including our spiritual, intellectual, and even physical selves. How do I know this? I have done it, and you probably have too.

2.) Our shadows are not necessarily bad. They are not necessarily good. They may or may not be neutral and they may or may not be gifts. Our shadows are first and foremost the unseen and unacknowledged parts of our lives.

Talk to any good therapist specializing in trauma and they will tell you that sometimes, in some situations, and for some people there are aspects of life that are hidden and the need to remain that way – at least for time being. There can be a bias among spiritual practitioners that all shadows are somehow malevolent and need to be conquered or brought into the light or what have you. This is not true.

There is also a bias in some communities that all of our shadows are fundamentally benevolent and gifts that we have yet to claim. That is also not true.

The most important thing to recognize about our shadows at this point is that they are the unseen and unacknowledged parts of ourselves – there may be good reasons that they have gone unseen and unacknowledged and there might be not so good reasons for that.

Now that we have defined it, let’s talk about why we do shadow work in the first place. Actually I would say that we don’t do shadow work, it does us. By which I mean that typically we begin engaging in shadow work when a shadowed place naturally makes itself known to us.

This can happen in a lot of different ways. Sometimes a shadowed part of ourselves begins to impede our daily functionality – we find ourselves triggered all of the time or our issues begin to take a toll on those closest to us – and we know it is time to look at the shadow. Sometimes we remember something that had previously not been present in our waking minds and it is time to deal with our shadows. And sometimes, we commit to a spiritual or intellectual path that requires us to look at our shadows for the sake of further development.

Typically people in communities like ours are pretty hip to why you would want to do shadow work and what the benefits of that kind of work can be.

We are much less clear however (or at least much less willing to talk about) the greatest pitfall of shadow work which is getting lost, trapped, and stuck in the shadows. This phenomena happens frequently and you can usually recognize it in yourself and in others whenever you encounter the feeling (or the thought) that your work with a particular shadow is never-ending.

To go back to Jung for a moment, Jung took the notion of the shadow from literature, stories, and myths. In many of these works we see the protagonist confront something about themselves that had not been previously seen or noted. They discover this unseen aspect of themselves, they see it, and then…what?

This is where the story often ends in modern practice but in reality it is where most stories begin. The meat of most of these tales is not the discovery of the shadow but rather what happens after, the integration of whatever medicine the shadow might carry into our lives and the ascent out of the depths back into the waking work.

Much has been written and created around the theme of descent and with good reason – it is an essential step in our development. But less attention has been paid to the ways that we then ascend back into the here and now. That’s what our focus is going to be in the next two lessons.

For now, I would love you to think about your previous experiences with shadow work and feel into one shadow area in particular that you are aware of. Write it down and if you need to add any description to it feel free to do so.
We are going to work with this in tomorrow’s lesson so stay tuned.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Creating Ceremony Lesson Five: Wrap It Up, Tie It Off

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles,

When is the ceremony that transforms Cinderella’s life over? Is it once she is gowned and crowned and off to the ball with her fancy shoes? Lots of readers would say yes. The Fairy Godmother arrives, the magic happens, and the rest is up to the prince and Cinderella herself.

But it is not so. The ceremony that transforms Cinderella’s life is not over until she and the prince are actually reunited. THAT is the life-changing event that her ceremony has set out to accomplish. But in order for that to occur and for the ceremony to conclude there is one more thing that has to happen: the lost slipper has to be reunited with its owner.

This speaks directly to the final step in creating ceremonies that are so easy to miss that it is rarely even talked about or taught. This step is the concluding and tying off of the ceremony which includes the ritual disposal of any remains from the ceremonial work that needs to be disposed of.

The tale of Cinderella gives us a clear sense of this because when Cinderella drops her slipper she has left a piece of her ceremony behind and nothing can be resolved until it is recovered and put back into place.

Once the action of the ceremony has taken place there is going to be clean up. In traditional societies when ceremonies are being performed on a large scale, we find that there are roles designated to various individuals so that the people performing the main action of the ceremony are not the same people who are on the clean-up crew. But within our own lives, it is often the case that we are fulfilling multiple roles during our own ceremonies and so making sure that clean up occurs is our responsibility.

I cannot stress this enough. You may well be tired and drained after putting so much energy into creating a ceremony, but if you do not do the required clean up it is very possible that your efforts will be for naught.

Look at the space that you have been working in. What ceremonial remains need to be taken care of? Is there extra candle wax, ash, bits of paper, shells, or feathers, that need to be attended to? Perhaps extra ingredients that were not needed need to be put back into their canisters and on their shelves. Maybe a piece of clothing or ritual tool that has been knocked out of place needs to be returned to its original setting.

In my own work, I call this the wrapping up and tying off phase. It refers to the way that I make prayer bundles and mojo bags, my final steps are to wrap them up in my hands and then tie them off with a firm knot – that is the signal to me that the work and the ceremony are truly finished.

There are many ritual disposal techniques you can call on at this point. The one rule of thumb that I truly think should always be followed is this: DO NOT THROW CEREMONIAL REMAINS AWAY IN THE TRASH. An old teacher of mine told me once that when you throw such things in the trash you are basically saying to the Otherworld that your work and your efforts have been trash. Don’t do that!!! Instead, follow these guidelines:

  • Recycle whatever can be recycled.
  • Consider burying biodegradable objects into the ground at the base of a healthy, living tree.
  • Consider burning things like candle wax or extra herbs and then burying the ashes or scattering them depending on what you are working on and what the goal of the ceremony is.
  • Rule of thumb: for ceremonies where you are arranging things to flourish and thrive, dispose of remains near you. For ceremonies where you are arranging for things to disperse or diminish, dispose of remains away from you and in a manner that allows them to scatter.

After you have ritually disposed of the remains from your ceremony it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labors – literally! It is time to feast! You can do this by yourself or with others – you can go out to a fancy restaurant or stay in and enjoy a meal that you cooked (ideally before the ceremony began). It is up to you but the traditional way to conclude ceremonial work is to break bread, eat your fill, drink plenty of water, and pay attention to your dreams.

After all, you have made magic and its effects will be reverberating long after your ceremony has ended.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Astro RX 2020

Divination and Dreams

M

iracles — Let us discover what astro events are happening in the heavens so that we might be fully rooted here in this gorgeous earth.

In this post we will go through the various phases of the moon, briefly look at what each of the planets will be up to in 2019, and of course, I will give you pertinent retrograde dates and eclipse dates as well.

As always for every single point, I will give you at least one question to consider. Why?

Because although the popular way of teaching astrology (and most other things) is by telling you dear reader what I think they mean, I have found that a much better way of approaching anything in the sacred arts is to give you the tools to think about it, feel into it, and figure it out for yourself.

Questions, the right questions, can help you do just that. I teach magictarot, and astrology in this manner and from the reports I have received and my own experience I know that it works.

So get those pens and notebooks ready!

 

And now, the dance of planets:

The Many Faces of the Moon

LunarLetter_FullMoonLa Luna is the most visible and easily trackable celestial body in the sky beside the sun. And so it makes complete sense that the earliest calendars were lunar to say nothing of the many ceremonies, rites, and feast days that honored Luna in her various phases.

Within the sacred arts there are four lunar phases to pay special attention to First Quarter, Full, Balsamic and/or Dark, and New.

New Moons are the best time to start any project or breathe new energy into any situation or area of your life. At this point the Moon is at the very beginning of her next 28-day phase – luna is starting fresh and so can we.

First Quarter Moons are best for looking at relationships and bringing harmony, balance, and intuitive insight to any given situation. Traditionally this phase of the moon was considered the best time to the divine and the very famous Oracle at Delphi only gave out her divinations during this phase of the moon.

Full Moons illuminate the land and the sky, allowing us to “see in the dark” and making this the best time to look at and uncover the aspects of a situation that usually remain in the shadows; revelations occur during Full Moons.

Dark Moons are traditionally times to rest, fast, dream deeply, and banish anything that is no longer relevant and/or of use to you.

It is important to note that everyone has a very different relationship with the phases of the moon. While the above descriptions are tried and true in my life and the lives of many of my students and clients, I also know a hefty number of folks who feel (for instance) very depleted energetically during new moons and much more alive and full of energy during the Balsamic phase. Use the information as a springboard but then pay attention to your own experiences.

Below are the lunar phases for 2020 in central time. If you need help with timezone conversation go here.

January

1/10: Full Moon + Lunar Eclipse at 20 degrees Cancer 1:21 pm
Ask: What are my dreams telling me?

1/17: Waning Quarter at 26 degrees Libra, 6:58 AM
Ask: Where do I need to banish dependency?

1/24: New Moon at 4 degrees, Aquarius 3:42 PM
Ask: What message am I ready to broadcast?

 

February

2/1: Waxing Quarter at 12 degrees Taurus, 7:42 PM
Ask: What pleasure am I ready to meet?

2/9: Full Moon at 20 degrees Leo, 1:33 AM
Ask: What is my relationship with courage?

2/15: Waning Quarter Moon at 26 degrees Scorpio, 4:17 PM
Ask: What inherited stories are I ready to acknowledge?

2/23: New Moon at 4 degrees Pisces, 9:32 AM
Ask: What new prayer or blessing am I ready to commit to?

March

3/2: Waxing Quarter at 12 degrees Gemini, 1:57 PM
Ask: What message is growing within me?

2/9: Full Moon at 19 degrees Virgo, 12:48 PM
Ask: What is my relationship to sovereignty?

3/16: Waning Quarter at 26 degrees Sagittarius, 4:34 AM
Ask: Where does my aim need to be improved?

3/24: New Moon at 4 degrees Aries, 4:28 AM
Ask: What new adventure is calling me?

April

4/1: Waxing Quarter at 12 degrees Cancer, 5:21 AM – All Fools Day
Ask: Where do I need to increase nourishment?

4/7: Full Moon at 18 degrees Libra, 9:35 PM
Ask: What is my relationship to balance?

4/14: Waning Quarter Moon at 25 degrees Capricorn, 5:56 PM
Ask: What can I stop pretending to be/do?

4/22: New Moon at 3 degrees Taurus, 9:26 PM – Earth Day
Ask: What financial seeds am I ready to sow?

4/30: Waxing Quarter at 10 degrees Leo, 3:38 PM
Ask: What does the right relationship to luxury look and feel like?

May

5/7: Full Moon at 17 degrees Scorpio, 5:45 AM
Ask: What is my relationship with shadow?

5/14: Waning Quarter Moon at 24 degrees Aquarius, 9:03 AM – Jupiter RX Begins
Ask: What connections are no longer relevant?

5/22: New Moon at 2 degrees Gemini, 12:39 PM
Ask: What am I ready to share?

5/29: Waxing Quarter at 9 degrees Virgo, 10:30 PM
Ask: What new health and healing regime am I ready to explore?

 

June

6/5: Full Moon + Lunar Eclipse at 15 degrees Sagittarius, 2:12 PM
Ask: What freedom am I ready to pursue?

6/12: Waning Quarter Moon at 22 degrees Pisces, 10:24 PM
Ask: What addictive thoughts, behaviors, and/or attitudes do I need to banish?

6/20: New Moon + Solar Eclipse at 0 degrees Cancer, 1:41 AM – Summer Solstice
Ask: What home am I ready to create?

6/28: Waxing Quarter at 7 degrees Libra, 3:16 AM
Ask: What Justice am I committed to?

 

July

7/4: Full Moon + Lunar Eclipse at 13 degrees Capricorn, 11:55 PM
Ask: What mastery should be celebrated?

7/12: Waning Quarter Moon at 3 degrees Aries, 10:24 PM
Ask: What weapons am I ready to put down?

7/20: New Moon at 28 degrees Cancer, 12:33 PM – Summer Solstice
Ask: What home am I ready to create?

7/27: Waxing Quarter at 14 degrees Scorpio, 12:31 PM
Ask: What mystery am I ready to explore?

August

8/3: Full Moon at 11 degrees Aquarius, 10:59 AM
Ask: What community am I seeking out?

8/11: Waning Quarter Moon at 19 degrees Taurus, 11:45 AM
Ask: Where do I need to banish laziness or sloth?

8/18: New Moon at 26 degrees Leo at 9:42 PM
Ask: What new luxury am I ready to embrace?

8/25: Waxing Quarter at 13 degrees Sagittarius, 10:10 PM
Ask: What travels am I ready to undertake?

September

9/2: Full Moon at 10 degrees Pisces, 12:22 AM
Ask: What am I ready to heal?

9/10: Waning Quarter Moon at 18 degrees Gemini, 4:26 AM
Ask: What distractions do I need to remove?

9/17: New Moon at 25 degrees Virgo at 6:00 AM
Ask: What do I want to plan for?

9/23: Waxing First Quarter at 1 degree Capricorn, 8:55 PM
Ask: Where am I ready to build mastery and expertise?

October

10/1: Full Moon at 9 degrees Aries at 4:05 PM
Ask: What core aspects of myself do I wish to honor?

10/9: Waning Quarter Moon at 27 degrees Cancer, 7:40 PM
Ask: What family/tribal ties am I ready to sever?

10/16: New Moon at 23 degrees Libra at 2:31 PM
Ask: What new relationship am I ready to form?

10/23: Waxing Quarter at 0 degrees Aquarius, 8:23 AM
Ask: What message am I ready to amplify?

10/31: Full Moon at 8 degrees Taurus at 9:49 PM – Halloween/Samhain/Blue Moon
Ask: What brings me stability?

November

11/8: Waning Quarter Moon at 16 degrees Leo, 7:46 AM
Ask: What pride needs to be vanquished?

11/14: New Moon at 23 degrees Scorpio, 11:07 PM
Ask: What shadow am I ready to explore?

11/21: Waxing Quarter at 0 degrees Pisces, 10:45 PM
Ask: What does right relationship with my intuition look and feel like?

11/30: Full Moon + Lunar Eclipse at 8 degrees Gemini, 3:30 AM
Ask: What words matter most to me?

December

12/7: Waning Quarter Moon at 16 degrees Virgo, 6:37 PM
Ask: What categories do I need to drop?

12/14: New Moon + Solar Eclipse at 23 degrees Sagittarius, 10:17 AM
Ask: What am I ready to set free?

12/21: Waxing Quarter at 0 degrees Aries, 5:41 PM – Winter Solstice
Ask: What fire wants to be kindled?

12/29: Full Moon at 8 degrees Cancer, 9:28 PM
Ask: What hungers have I successfully sated?

Sun

The sun moves through the zodiacal belt just as the moon does. Your astrological sign is determined by the Sun’s position at the time of your birth. As everyone has ALL of the zodiac signs in their own charts, it is very useful for you to know when the sun moves into a new sign.

1/20: Sun enters Aquarius 8:55 AM
Ask: What community am I ready to cultivate?

2/18: Sun enters Pisces 10:57 PM
Ask: What dream am I ready to follow?

3/19: Sun enters Aries (Spring Equinox) 10:50 PM — Spring Equinox
Ask: What is ready to be balanced?

4/19:  Sun enters Taurus 9:45 AM
Ask: What foundations am I ready to lay down?

5/20: Sun enters Gemini 8:49 AM
Ask: What is my message?

6/20: Sun enters Cancer 4:44 PM — Summer Solstice
Ask: What sanctuary am I ready to create?

7/22: Sun enters Leo 3:37 AM
Ask: What do I roar for?

8/22: Sun enters Virgo 10:45 AM
Ask: What is holy for me?

9/22: Sun enters Libra (Fall Equinox) 8:31 AM — Fall Equinox
Ask: What relationships am I devoted to?

10/22: Sun enters Scorpio 6:00 PM
Ask: What are the blessings from my broken places?

11/21: Sun enters Sagittarius 2:40 PM
Ask: What am I able to teach?

12/21: Sun enters Capricorn 4:02 AM — Winter Solstice
Ask: What mastery do I seek?

Lunar and Solar Eclipses in 2020

There are six eclipses in 2020. You can learn more about eclipses and how to work with them here. In short, I have found that eclipses are very useful for breaking long-held patterns of thought, behavior, attitude, and action that no longer serve. Many astrologers talk about eclipses in negative terms but don’t let that keep you from noting eclipse times and trying your hand at working with them in an intentional manner. If you want to truly optimize your eclipse experience then check out my Eclipse Magic offering.

1/10: Lunar Eclipse at 20 degrees Cancer at 1:21 PM
Ask: What feelings are no longer serving me?

6/5: Lunar Eclipse at 15 degrees Sagittarius at 2:12 PM
Ask: What comforts are keeping me from true freedom?

6/21: Solar Eclipse at 0 degrees Cancer at 1:41 AM
Ask: What no longer nourishes me?

7/4: Lunar Eclipse at 13 degrees Capricorn at 11:44 PM
Ask: Where am I resistant to developing mastery?

11/30: Lunar Eclipse at 8 degrees Gemini at 3:30 AM
Ask: What keeps me from articulating my message?

12/14: Solar Eclipse at 23 degrees Sagittarius at 10:17 AM
Ask: What keeps me from deep learning.

Planets

Just like the stars, planets move throughout the sky all of the time. The inner planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars) all move relatively quickly through signs and sections of the chart. The outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto) all move at a much slower rate through the various constellations and houses of the chart.

Inner planets traditionally are understood to deal with everyday, practical, daily life issues while outer planets are understood to work with big cycles, realizations, and patterns in our lives. First, we will spend some time with some of the inner planet happenings in 2020, starting with the ever-dreaded (but actually awesome if you know how to work with them) Mercury retrogrades.

Mercury Retrogrades for 2020

Every planet has retrograde periods but most people are only familiar with Mercury in Retrograde – mostly because many astrologers and non-astrologers alike make this period out to be terrible, full of bad luck, and extremely frustrating. It can be, but I prefer to practice with Mercury retrograde instead of in resistance to it.

You can learn more about Mercury retrograde in my Mercury RX archives here and check out this article to start to get a sense of how you might deepen your retrograde experience. If you are what I call Mercury-sensitive you will want to make a note of the things to do BEFORE Mercury goes retrograde and join up with the Mercury RX Survival Kit.

In 2020 the Mercury Retrogrades all occur in water signs with the exception of the second retrograde period in July which begins in the fire sign of Leo. When Mercury retrogrades throughout our watery friends we see a tendency for emotions to get the better of us, for brilliant insights and connections regarding art, spirituality, and concerns of the heart to be revealed, and for our ability to verbally articulate to take a backseat to our deep creativity. These retrogrades also often bring up potent dreams and dream cycles so be on the lookout for that!

Here are the dates for the 2019 Mercury Retrogrades:

February 16th – March 9, 2020: Retrograde starts at 6:54 PM in Pisces, moves into Aquarius on March 3rd and stations direct on July 9th at 10:49 PM.
Ask: What spiritual practices are ready to be reviewed?

June 17, 2020 – July 12, 2020: Retrograde starts at 11:59 PM in Cancer and then stations direct on July 12th at 3:26 AM
Ask: What in your home needs to be restructured?

October 13, 2020 – November 3, 2020: Retrograde starts at 8:05 PM in Scorpio, moves into Libra on October 27th and ends on the 3rd at 11:50 AM.
Ask: What elements of my lineage are ready to be re-balanced?

Inner Planet Awesome: Mercury, Venus, and Mars

These three inner planets move through the sky and around the zodiac relatively quickly which means that they make many transits throughout the year. (If you want the full scoop on what each of the planets is doing then you should sign up for Star Magic which includes a monthly list of all essential astro events). All of the major transits this year are occurring for the big, outer, planets, but the inner planets are still keeping us on our toes with Venus and Mars Retrogrades!

May 13th, 2020 – June 25th, 2020 Venus Retrograde begins at 1:45 AM in Gemini and stations direct on June 25th at 1:48 AM.
Ask: Where do I need to re-examine my loving connections?

September 9th, 2020November 13th, 2020 Mars Retrograde begins at 5:22 PM in Aries and stations direct on November 13th at 6:36 PM.
Ask: Where do I need to optimize my independence?

 

Outer Planet Amazement: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto

Big Events in 2020

January 12th – Saturn and Pluto Conjunction. This is a conjunction that occurs only every 34 years. It kicks off 2020 with an intense pairing. Saturn, the stern taskmaster encounters power player Pluto and this can impact us in a couple of different ways. On the one hand we can be shadowy and sketchy about our pursuit of power, skirting the law and taking the easy way out in order to gain or keep the upper hand. On the other hand, this duo can inspire unparalleled discipline and potency that you can bring to your New Year’s Resolutions and any other area of life where you need it!
Ask: Where do I need to super-charge my discipline?

April 4th, June 30th, and November 12th – Jupiter and Pluto Conjunction. This pairing occurs every 13 years. It is sometimes referred to as the “mogul” pairing and carries a lot of potential for creating deep wealth and money magic.
Ask: Where am I ready to deepen my wealth and abundance?

December 21st – Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction. This conjunction occurs once every 20 years and heralds a new age in business and politics, personal finances, and the ways that our reality is affected by our spiritual work.
Ask: What big changes need to be supported at this time?

 

Jupiter in Capricorn and Aquarius

Jupiter in Capricorn: For most of 2020 Jupiter is in Capricorn. Traditional astrology regards Jupiter as “fallen” in the sign of Capricorn because Saturn-ruled Capricorn tends to emphasize constriction while Jupiter values expansion above all else. However, there is much common ground to be found between Jupiter and the sign of Capricorn and this ground will be emphasized by the fact that Jupiter will be conjunct with Saturn through much of its tour through Capricorn. This is a time when hard work, restriction, and thriftiness will be well rewarded as will the dedication to any specific skill or craft.
December 2, 2019 – December 19th, 2020: Jupiter encourages a solid foundation as it moves through Capricorn.
Ask: What hard work am I willing to engage in and what rewards would I like to see as a result?

Jupiter in Aquarius: Jupiter’s tour through Aquarius will begin with a bang when Jupiter and Saturn conjunct one another. Jupiter in the sign of the Water-bearer will support those who have messages that they wish to broadcast into the world gain greater clarity on how to do that. It will be a time when change is well-aspected and given a cosmic blessing and when significant decisions that will have long-term effects on the future come into being.
December 19th, 2019 – May 12th, 2021: Jupiter blesses all projects that deal with expansion, connection, technology, and broadcasting. Congregations and groups of all kinds are especially auspicious now.
Ask: Where am I ready to expand my horizons?

Jupiter Retrograde: There is a Jupiter Retrograde in 2020.
May 14, 2020 – September 12th, 2020: Retrograde starts at 9:32 AM and ends on September 12th at 7:41 PM.
Ask: What aspects of my daily devotional and spiritual practices are still relevant and what needs to be released?

Saturn in Capricorn and Aquarius

Saturn in Capricorn: For most of 2020 Saturn will be in its favored sign of Capricorn but it will move briefly into Aquarius from March – June giving us a taste of what is to come at the end of the year when it stations properly into Aquarius. The opportunity now is to look at the areas where mastery, duty, obligation, and responsibility play out in your life. Use these final months while Saturn is in its elevated position to set good routines and amp up the discipline in any areas where that is needed.
January 1st – March 20th, 2020  and July 1st – December 17th, 2020
Ask: Where am I ready to gain mastery, experience, and cultivate true excellence?

Saturn in Aquarius: Although in modern astrology Uranus is listed as the ruling planet for Aquarius, in classical Astrology it was Saturn, not Uranus (which had not yet been discovered) that ruled over this sign. This combination gives rebels a cause and can infuse needed discipline and responsibility into ideals that have been seen (up until this point) as too “out there” or “fringe.” It ushers in a new era of technological developments, some of which may have hard effects on the current economy and job market as we know it. It can also call in more oversight and legal obligations for big tech companies. For you personally this alignment is a time to take the discipline of Saturn and harness it to the future facing energy that is present within Aquarius.
March 21st, 2020 – June 30th, 2020 and December 18th, 2020 – March 8th, 2023
Ask:
What kind of future do I want to build?

Saturn Retrograde: There is a Saturn Retrograde in 2020 in the signs of Aquarius and Capricorn.
May 10, 2020 – September 29, 2020: Retrograde starts at 11:09 PM in Aquarius, moves into Capricorn on July 1st and stations direct on September 29th at 12:11 AM.
Ask: What disciplines do I need to review?

Neptune in Pisces

Neptune continues moving through the sign of Pisces, giving us plenty of deep ocean to swim around in and go diving for treasure. Neptune in Pisces both supports our ability to dive deeply into our intuitive selves and also to heal not only on a personal level but on a global level. It also stirs up the waters so that problems and issues that need to be seen are able to float to the surface. On the flip side, as Neptune swims through its favorite sign we can all engage in more fantasy and problematic escapism – this is a time when it is especially easy to run up those credit card bills and engage in creative storytelling that allows us to escape accountability. How to do Neptune in Pisces well? Don’t lie, trick or deceive – yourself or others, note your addictive tendencies, and focus on healing.
Ask: What is ready to be healed?

Neptune Retrograde: June 22, 2020 – November 28th, 2020: Retrograde starts at 11:31 PM and stations direct on November 28th at 6:36 PM.
Ask: What unfinished creative/dreamwork do I need to turn my attention to now? What unhelpful fantasy needs to be revised and made relevant?

Uranus in Taurus

On March 7th of 2019, Uranus moved into Taurus. This marks a seven-year cycle that is going to shake up our most solid institutions and assumptions in both the personal and global spheres. To give you an idea of what Uranus in Taurus can look like, the last time it occurred was between the years of 1935-1942 – that was the Great Depression and beginning of WWII. While this transit may not be easy, it will absolutely re-orient some of the fundamental assumptions we make and the basic ways we engage with life. Expect to see tech on all fronts including AI and Robotics gain ground and importance in both global economies and everyday life.
Ask: What assumptions are ready to be challenged?

Uranus Retrograde: August 15, 2020 – January 14, 2021: Retrograde begins at 9:25 AM and stations direct on January 14th at 2:36 AM.
Ask: What needs to be shaken up in my life and what needs to be settled back down?

Pluto in Capricorn

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

Pluto Retrograde: April 25, 2020 – October 4, 2020: Retrograde begins at 1:54 PM and stations direct on October 4th at 8:32 AM.
Ask: What aspects of my personal power need to be refined?

 


Sync up with the stars

We’ve created digital calendars with all the important dates, times and events for your convenience:

download the Google Calendar
download the iCalendar
download the Sacred Arts Book of Hours – a planner for Soulful Seekers for $24 here.


 

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Creating Ceremony Lesson Four: Just Kick the Ball

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles, action

When I was in my mid-twenties I learned how to play soccer. My best friend’s husband had a field and put together an adult league and recruited both of us to come and play. My husband had played the sport throughout school but I have never so much as kicked a soccer ball – to say I was out of my depth is a huge understatement.

After the first game, my bestie’s husband pulled us aside and grabbed a ball.

“Girls,” he said, “You can just kick the ball straight out, you don’t have to run a little circle around the ball and then kick it.”

We were indignant! We were ticked off! We were…running circles around the ball instead of just kicking it.

Years later, watching my son learn to play soccer, I saw that he did the same thing – run a circle around the ball instead of just kicking the darn thing. As it happens, this is a pretty common beginner’s mistake.

The exact same thing happens sometimes when we create ceremonies. We may go through the beginning steps with exacting care…or we may try to rush through some of them. We may think about what our lives will be like after the ceremony has done its transformative work and get lost in detailed fantasies, but in all of that running around we sometimes forget to…just kick the ball.

In our case, that means deciding and then doing the action of the ceremony. There are so many different possibilities to choose from that it is easy to get lost, but this is one of the reasons why we do the preliminary work that we do.

That preliminary work – banishing, communing, and petitioning – prepares us for this next step and gives us a lot of information that will help us decide what the action of the ceremony is going to be if we don’t already know.

In the story of Cinderella, magic is everywhere you turn. Pumpkins turning into carriages and fancy gowns were brought to us by the Disney film, but before that, it was a barefooted scullery maid who received the simple gift of new shoes. The original story was mistranslated, and the shoes were said to be made of glass but actually, they were warm fur-lined boots. (I know, this totally changes your vision of the Cinder girl, doesn’t it? Me too!) Cinderella is literally given the ability to walk in a different pair of shoes – and therefore carve out a different path for herself than the one she has found herself on.

So what action is going to be the center of your ceremony?

Look over your notes up to this point. You will find themes and ideas that you keep circling back to again and again.

Maybe you are working on cleansing and healing a situation and a spiritual bath is the major action of your ceremony. Perhaps you need to turn a sour situation into one that is sweeter and the making of a sugar jar is the central action of the ceremony. It is also possible that you need to nail something down, light something up, bring in more money, heal a broken heart, or make a special dedication – all of these desires have magical acts that go with them.

Pick you an action(s), decide when you are going to do them, gather the necessary materials, maybe put on a pair of fur-lined boots and then get ready to kick that ball.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Creating Ceremony Lesson Three: Say it Loud

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles, creating

Welcome to the third lesson of the Creating Ceremony series! I call this one “Say it Loud” because that is what we are going to do.

At this point you have banished and then done what is probably the trickiest part of creating effective ceremonies – you have waited and communed with the Otherworld.

You are now ready to say your prayer, make your petition, state your intention, and/or declare your goal.

Magical ceremonies follow the same laws of physical matter in many ways. For instance, the law of Mass-Conservation tells us that matter is neither created nor destroyed – it only changes forms. This is true of magic too. When we create ceremonies we should think less about creating something out of nothing or annihilating something else – rather, we should think of our work as arranging and re-arranging things for the best possible result.

Keep this in mind as you create those petitions, prayers, and intentions.

Take some time to come up with the ‘just right’ statement. You will most likely need to journal and reformulate your words a few times until they have the flow you want.

That flow, by the way, is very subjective. For some people their petitions need to be as brief and simple as possible, for others they want long, flowery prose, some folks prefer to weave in words from other languages, while others like to write their petition in verse.

I often chant my petitions over and over again and/or sing them so personally that I prefer shorter petitions with rhythm and rhyme.

If you get stuck in this process, these prompts might help you:

What is the current situation I want to transform?

How do I want to transform it?

Who is going to help me do that? (This prompt is really asking you to consider what Holy Helpers will be allies for you in this endeavor but it might also bring up allies present right here and right now).

What is the final outcome and/or the possibility that I am yearning for?

Once you have created your petition, prayer, or intention I encourage you to say it and say it loud. There is deep magic in working with our voices and letting them be heard. Some schools of magic call this the “power of utterance.” So write it down, carve it on a candle, inscribe it in clay, but say it out loud too – once or many times.

xo
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.