Balancing Acts

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles,

Today is the Autumn Equinox in my part of the world (and the Vernal Equinox for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere). So I want to wish you all a Happy and Blessed Equinox and mention just a few practices that I do every year around this time – you might want to adopt some of these into your own practices or they might give you some ideas about different things you might want to do.

Deep Cleaning – We talk about Spring Cleaning but Fall Cleaning is a thing too! My family takes time around the Equinox (depending on when the Equinox falls it is not always ON the exact date of the event) to physically and spiritually clean our home. This includes doing things like breaking out all of our fall, Halloween, and Dia de los Muertos decorations, setting up an elaborate ancestor altar, and also creating the shrine to celebrate the Feast Day of Archangel Michael which happens at the end of the month.

I do a ceremony that usually lasts about an hour and a half that includes banishing and blessing work. I work with a ceremonial sword I inherited to cut away any unwanted influences and to seal and protect all doors and windows in our home. I sweep out the house from back to front as this tradition has precedent in both the conjure and currendera traditions I grew up with as a child. Then, I go through the house with Florida Water and I cap it all of my lighting a candle in each room and censing the house (again, back to front) with an aromatic scent like copal, frankincense, or ethically sources palo santo. I round off the entire event with offerings, usually made outside in our magical garden.

Practically speaking I also use this time to do an inventory of our home – do batteries need to be replaced in the smoke alarms? Do any minor repairs need to be seen to in or around the house? Are there any areas in dire need of re-organization? Have I made appointments to have our chimney swept and our furnace checked out once the weather starts to turn? These banal tasks are the exact kinds of things that I always forget and really don’t want to attend to, but when I put them into a ritual context – when they become the practical actions that ground my magical rites – all of a sudden they are much easier to remember.

Caring for Sacred Arts Tools – Caring for our sacred arts tools is an extension of spiritual cleaning. For many magical practitioners the summer is a chaotic, crazy time as is the start of the school year. Go check out your altar, your desk, or wherever it is that you do the bulk of your magical work and make your spiritual devotions. Chances are there are objects in your space that have just kind of ended up there – they are not really adding anything to the space. Do a quick inventory: what is here? What, of the objects that are here, are you actually using? Of the objects that you are using, how might they need to be cared for? Is your lodestone covered not just in magnetic sand but also dust? Time to clean it off and give it a good splash of whisky! Is your cord looking a little tattered and frayed? Snip off the loose ends and make it a ritual by naming any physical loose ends with any loose ends currently at work in your life. Is there a truly funky food or libation offering that needs to be taken care of? Clean it out, clean it up, and put something back on the altar that will be appreciated by your Holy Helpers. Do you have a bunch of sigils and petition papers lying around? Gather them up and decide on a time to ceremonially burn them in order to release their energy (I always do this on the last day of the calendar year).

Tending Your Altars – One you begin caring for your sacred arts tools you might find that you actually need to clean up, re-organize, or perhaps create for the first time, your altar and sacred working space. This is a good time to begin setting up an ancestor altar if you plan on doing one for the season of the dead – you can and will add to it in the coming weeks. If you have children this can be a great time to help them create their own altars. If you find that you need more working space then you might consider creating different altars for different purposes – placing one in the East to draw things to you and one in the West for banishing work, or perhaps creating a space for working on love and relationships and a different space for working on money and prosperity. Don’t forget about the first altar, your own blessed and physical body. Have you paid attention to it lately? Are you listening to what it has to tell you? How do you incorporate your physical body into your spiritual practice? Perhaps you need to bless it and maybe one way of doing that is scheduling a doctor’s appointment, getting a massage, or taking up a new form of physical activity.

If you decide to take on any (or all) of these Equinox activities then you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed (and being pretty busy for the day), but you may also discover that one of the subtle joys of living an enchanted life is the tending and taking care of your own magic. Your practice, your Holy Helpers, and your space will thank you for it as you bring the various elements into balance once more.

What are your favorite ways of celebrating the Equinox?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

When the Best Isn’t Good Enough + My Favorite Sacred Arts Practice

Learning and Community

D

So often I am asked what is the best ceremony or ritual to do for a specific situation, the best root, herb, or plant to use for X, the best person to go to for a card reading, the best astrologer, the best business coach, the best book on a specific subject…and the list goes on.

It makes sense to want the best. In fact, when I see my clients and students asking for what or who is best in their given field it makes me happy. I know that what is underneath the desire for the best is a yearning for what has the capacity to truly deepen knowledge, inspire and speak to the soul, satisfy and honor our precious bodies, and deepen our spiritual practices.

But then something happens. We stand in front of what everyone says is the best piece of art, or open the covers of the best book, or we talk to a person who is supposed to be the best in a given area.  And…we walk walk away feeling flat. Feeling nothing.

Why is this?  Why do we all have the experience that,  well, sometimes “the best” isn’t good enough, it doesn’t go far enough?

I think the reason why is this: What really counts – in life, in practice, in work, in everything we seek to do under the sun – is wrapped up in diverse relationships. The way we hold “the best” – as somehow detachable and separate, one-size fits all – can actually eclipse or weaken the growth of those relationships.

Take ritual or ceremonies for instance. In over eighty percent of the situations I encounter some combination of cleansing and blessing ceremony is the right approach. But as we all know, there are literally thousands of different ways to cleanse and bless ourselves, one another, and the situations we find ourselves in. To ask what the best method is in this example is to miss one of the most vital aspects of the sacred arts, for there is no one, silver-bullet, cleansing ritual that always works for every single person every single time.

Instead ask this: what is the best for my situation, with respect to where I am and who I am, right now?

To answer that question we have to be able to do one thing well: pay attention. We have to be vigilantly alive to the particulars of our life.  We have to pay attention to what actually makes sense to us and what does not, to what resonates naturally as opposed to what feels forced; and, most of all, we have to pay attention to what right relationship looks and feels like in this specific instance. That is the road that will take us to what is really and truly the best.

And while there are many ways of paying attention and fostering right relationship, my favorite is a little practice I call cultivating calmness. You can get it for free as part of the first lesson in the Miracle Tree Sessions. It is a practice I go back to again and again, on a daily basis, and one that has served me well. I know it will do the same for you. Download the lesson HERE and may you have all the best things.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Calling All Miracles

Learning and Community

T

he Miracle Tree: oldest of old trees, it is a world in and of itself. A place where we go to learn, to congregate, to make magic, and most of all, to remember.
The Miracle Tree Sessions 2016 is now open for registration.  Register here and download the first week of Module One: Earth.

Earth: our blessed and most precious bodies, our bones, our ability to stand, to sit, to reach down and touch the ground. Earth: our ability to know where we are in space and in time – specifically, particularly, and uniquely. Earth: our connection to the living world and all of the creatures seen and unseen that make it up.

Air: our breath and it’s way of calling in life with every inhale, releasing what is no longer needed with each exhale. Air: thoughts, reflections, insights, our ways of finding, cultivating, and cherishing right relationship – to ourselves and to one another. Walking the path of wisdom.

Fire: burning in the belly and the ceaseless dance of blood vessels whirling and twirling us into acts of courage and creativity. Fire: burning steadily within us, pointing us to radical reverence for all things including our anger, our passions, our arousal and reminding us of our ability to be devoted.

Water: the tears we cry in sadness and in joy, the red, red blood that courses through us like a crimson waterfall full of its own eddies and currents. Water: the ways of cleansing, healing, and blessing; the ways of going ever deeper, of dreaming, of seeing beyond time and beyond space into the in-between places.

Below: among the roots and rocks we find bone and voice, the voices of our ancestors, those who have gone before, those who know. Below: uncovering lineage, re-collecting the sacred in death and dying and in so doing finding the vital sparks that lead to a life of meaning, here and now.

Above: transcendent vision in the luminous heavens, creating and honoring the legacies we are living. Above: learning how to ascend, how to return from the Underworld experiences we all have, seeing as a clear-eyed bird sees — particularly and comprehensively at the same time.

Join us in 2016 and remember that you are the miracle.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Fools, Tricksters, and Miracles

Learning and Community

Happy almost April Fools Day, Miracles!

Is there holiness in mischief?

Humor, jokes, riddles, and puns all work to encourage us to step out of our ordinary ways of perceiving information and relating to others and in so doing often expose us to new ways of seeing and behaving that have the potential to do us much good. April Fool’s puts me in the mind of Trickster, that floppy-tongued, well-endowed, coyote-eared, clown-faced God who is found in the smoky backrooms of every real bar, always on the wrong side of the tracks, and wherever there’s a party to be had or a story to be told.

Trickster is also found, in more than one story, guarding the gates of heaven and you have to answer his riddles before he lets you in. Trickster pads into our lives leaving mud on the kitchen floor and telling us a string of the best dirty jokes. He also teaches us how to plant seeds, tell stories, and wait for the harvest. Above all he encourages us to take a risk, take a chance, try something new. In my family we were taught that when he shows up you perk up your ears and pay attention — for Trickster loves nothing more than to give (sometimes good and sometimes bad) advice. We honor him by listening to what he has to say, laughing at his jokes, telling him a tall tale or two, and above all by doing something we have never done before.

How has Trickster shown up in your life? And/or, favorite April Fool's prank?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.