️So…What IS An Ancestor?

Uncategorized

I

f you have been paying attention to the news/social media then you probably have seen a bajillion (totally technical term) posts about Ancestors, Honoring the Ancestors, and celebrating specific Holy Days like Dia de Los Muertos. ancestor

Some of you may behold hats at Ancestor work, but for some of you this may be totally new territory, and/or you might feel like you need a refresher.

Others might feel like they aren’t allowed to do venerate their Ancestors – that these kinds of practices are only found in certain cultures and traditions – not the ones that you come from. For those of you who fall into that category, let me assure you that honoring and working with our Ancestors is something we find in so many traditions around the world – this is a practice that belongs to everyone.

So…over the next three days, I am going to give you all a series of teachings, right here, in your inbox, about how to work with, honor, and be in right relationship with, your Ancestors.

I am going to share some of the most fundamental information about working with your Ancestors so that you can get started doing exactly that if you want to.

At the end of the three day period, I will also invite those of you who haven’t already done so, to join Story Threads: Gathering the Bones with Santa Muerte and Liberating Innocence from the Sugar House with Hansel and Gretel.

This first half (one full week) of this course dives deep into Ancestor work and also introduces you to a very special Holy Helper: Santa Muerte, Our Most Holy Lady of Death.

If you aren’t interested in the course that is totally OK too! I still hope you read these emails and get familiar with the basics of working with our Beloved Dead, our Ancestors.

To begin with, though we need to clarify WHAT and WHO we are talking about…

Ancestor is a term referring to deceased relatives, kin, friends, and also historical figures

• Pets and companion animals that have passed on are also considered ancestors

• You may also have ancestral ties to places, certain objects — especially those passed down through a family, and even lines of work or service

• Ancestor is a term that can also refer to children who are deceased. We sometimes forget they are in this category but in my Ancestral celebrations, we have one day that we put aside specifically to honor the little ones who have passed.

When I speak of honoring or having right relationship to our ancestors I do not mean that you need to honor every single one of your deceased family members, rather honor the Ancestors that you felt a closeness to in life or those who have always been present to you.

If the deceased person in your life that you had the closest relationship to is your dog, then that is who you would put on the Ancestor altar.

If you cannot think of anyone deceased that you had a close relationship with then you may also work with your Ancestral line – this is your cultural and ethnic heritage and lineage. Most of us have more than one, but for the purposes of beginning work, it is best to pick just one.

Once you have decided on the Ancestor(s) you want to honor, find a way to represent them. You might include their picture, an item they gifted you during their life or an object that you associate with them. It might include some of their ashes if they were cremated or dirt from their grave if they were buried – there are lots of options!

Just pick one object and start there. Put it in a place where it cannot be disturbed and where you have space to add a few other objects in the days to come.

This is the first step in creating your own Honoring of the Ancestors. Tomorrow we will explore WHY you would want to honor your Ancestors in the first place.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Jupiter as a Holy Helper

Ceremony and Ritual

H

e (Jupiter as a Holy Helper) stops all forces that would devour life, feast on innocence, and annihilate good legacy, fast in their tracks, for he is firmly on the side of life and all that is life-giving. He is Sovereign and Sovereignty but also a feckless and inconstant husband who knows something of error, mistakes, and screw-ups, giving him a particular fondness for humanity. He is Wisdom and all ways and all roads that lead to it. He is the great teacher, the guide, the guru. It is easy to see his story as one full of winning – except that he wept along with the horses when his beloved Troy fell. Easy to see him as nothing more than the most perfect example of patriarchal chauvinism except that all his sister-wife need do is dab herself with a bit of perfume, place a necklace around her neck, beckoning to him to meet her in a field of flowers and he is simply brought to his knees. He is the eagle, the all-seeing and all-knowing who nevertheless pays obeisance to the older and ancient Goddesses. He is the father who adores his children, especially his daughters. The husband who tries and fails and never let’s go. He is boundless and the bringer of wealth, prosperity, abundance, and good fortune. He delights in discovery, learning, and takes joy anywhere people come together to make ritual and ceremony. He is the law bringer, oath binder, and oath keeper. He is the one who holds the space and beats the drum for the entire drama to play out. He is the storm caller and hurler of the divine bolt of lightning that can inspire and enlighten or burn it all down. He is Lord, King, Emperor, Sovereign of All, and he is the lowest of the low. We find him in the faces of the downtrodden, those without a home, family, or prospects, the wounded, and this diseased, the ones that most would turn away from. For it is here he is able to see us best, testing our mettle…do we help when someone is hurt, do we go towards the ones others would run from, do we walk our talk and be welcoming and hospitable to those who have no place of their own? He bears witness to how we serve others, for it is that more than anything else that reveals just how sovereign we truly are. Jupiter as a holy helper

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius: Where the Weird Turn Pro

Uncategorized

Y

ou know the Hunter S. Thompson quote: “When the going gets weird, the weird go pro”? THAT is Mercury RX in Aquarius and actually kind of perfectly descriptive of Aquarius on a “normal” day. This retrograde can bring out potent visions of the future, radical miscommunications, and off the wall, off kilter ideas that might lead you directly to your genius. That’s how Mercury RX in Aquarius works.

Well, for starters it brings the distinct possibility that we will find ourselves in a disagreement/miscommunication among friends or our wider communities. Generally speaking the groups that we belong to will be especially effected once Mercury moves into Aquarius. This also gives us the opportunities to reevaluate our relationships to the various groups and associations that we have – do they still make sense? Do we want to take on a greater role/responsibility? Are we ready to hand responsibility off to someone else? These are just some of the questions that might emerge for you. Groups that are involved in activism, direct action protects, or other social justice movements (all very Aquarian) should be prepared for weird hiccups and misfires during this period.

The possibility of miscommunication is also present around technology. This can look like giving into the trolls on social media or your smart phone deciding to garble all of your texts for a week. Either way, it is important when Mercury is retrograde in Aquarius to keep an eye on your tech devices and to avoid any drama on social media.

Another aspect of this transit is the need to leave extra early in order to arrive on time. Aquarius is the sign of SURPRISE!!! And you never know what the surprise might be…detours are common and a lack of patience during this transit is NOT advisable. The solution: give yourself more time than you think you need. Worst case? You arrive early and can read a book for a few minutes!

Finally, when we go deeper into what a Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius can bring us we have to talk about the future. For Aquarius is the most future-facing sign of the Zodiac. It is very concerned with our personal futures as well as the collective future that we are creating for everyone. We can work proactively with this RX period by considering our future and reviewing what decisions we have made about it, what choices we are bringing to it, and how we want it to feel. Work with the time to get clear on what is next for you, and then get ready to make that next your now!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio Vol. 1

Ceremony and Ritual

T

he Lay of the Land, er, Underworld retrograde

Miracles,

Today kicks off a short volume of writings on Mercury’s upcoming retrograde into the sign of Scorpio – which begins on October 31st. You can also find these writings at Canto and on my Facebook page where you may comment or ask a question if the spirit moves you!

Mercury’s retrograde into Scorpio is truly a descent into the Underworld of Shadow and Secrets. This retrograde period has the ability to powerfully shift our perceptions and bring about deep healing – especially to old wounds and traumas, but it also comes with a fair amount of drama and traps that we can easily fall into if we are not helpful.

Here are some of the highlights that you will want to be aware of during this retrograde period.

Those of you who have Scorpio as your sun, moon, or ascendant should be particularly careful during this rx period as you will most likely feel very affected by it. Those with Pluto or Mars as ruling planets or those with loaded 8th houses should also take special note of the retrograde and make plans now to work proactively with it.

The first thing to note is that Mercury retrograde in Scorpio is similar to Mercury retrograde in Pisces in that these are both water signs and therefore our feelings, emotions, and instincts are much closer to the surface than usual.

For those accustomed to working from a place of deep feeling, this will feel normal but for those who are not, this can feel precarious and you may find yourself saying and doing things that usually you would keep to yourself.

Of all the water signs Scorpio has the most passion so during this rx period strong passions may be stirred up within yourself and definitely within those around you – proceed with caution. It is not uncommon during Mercury retrograde in Scorpio to see someone leaning heavily into their most passionate conviction only to discard it as soon as the retrograde period is over.

In classical astrology Scorpio was ruled by Mars and only later did Pluto come into the picture. As a Mars-ruled sign, Scorpio, like Aries, can be aggressive, protective, and combative. (It can also be disciplined, just, and heroic).

These lesser tendencies of aggression, over-protection, and combativeness can be on full display during the retrograde period and they show up in behavior but especially in speech.

It is really easy for everyone to take on a harsher and less kind edge in their speech and voices during Mercury rx in Scorpio. On the flip side, it is a wonderful time to write about anything deep, thought-provoking, or fantastic.

The third aspect of this retrograde deals with money. Scorpio is the ruler of “other people’s money and resources” so while this sign does not correlate directly to your day in and day out income (that would be Taurus) it does speak to investments, borrowing, lending, and working with money.

Stocks and many financial instruments are Scorpio in nature so you will want to keep an eye on your cash, and especially watch your investments. Typically Mercury rx is a bad time to make a new big investment or go in with partners on some financial scheme (no matter how sound it looks). Better to wait until the retrograde is complete (or has not yet started) to buy, sell, trade, or transfer any significant aspects.

This is also a time when each individual will be rewarded if they pause and take a long look at where they are investing their own resources – think about money but also beyond money – and determine whether those investment choices are still sound.

Finally, Mercury retrograde in Scorpio can speak to plumbing issues both in your body and in your home. Scorpio rules the bowels of the body (as well as our sex organs) and the bowels of the home as well.

Plumbing issues are likely to emerge at this time so if you know you have something upcoming then getting a start on it before the rx period is a good idea. At the very least make sure you have a good plumber on speed dial.

When it comes to our physical bodies, Mercury rx is always a good time to go in to see your medical provider and get an opinion or a second opinion on a situation. It can encourage revised or meticulously reviewed opinions and treatment plans. If you are having any tummy troubles this is the best time all year to have those looked at carefully by a doctor that you trust and the same goes for any issues with your sex organs and/or intimacy issues.

Arching over these specific points is the fact that Mercury retrograde in Scorpio is a powerful time spiritually for all of us. This is the sign of Life, Death, and Resurrection and as such it is a time when we may consciously choose what needs to die, what needs to be aided and supported in coming back to life, and what needs to be born.

Considering your spiritual affiliations, congregations, and practices at this time is a powerful thing to do that will yield much fruit. Making magic and engaging in any Sacred Arts practices is especially auspicious now and you can learn much from any endeavors you make in that arena.

This is one of the deepest retrogrades, so make good use of it!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 16 Battery Sufficiently Charged

Uncategorized

M

iracles, sufficiently

Happy New Moon in Virgo!

I wake up early, a handful of hours before everyone else so that I can think and write, pray and drink coffee in the darkness and the quiet.

One of the first things I do is plug in my phone, which is usually on its last leg after the previous day’s phone calls, text messages, email checking, and news perusing. After I complete my morning rituals, I am greeted by the above message: “battery sufficiently charged.”

I especially like the modifying adverb sufficiently in this notification. This adverb is an early morning reminder that things don’t have to be perfect, they can be sufficient – and that sufficiency has its own beautiful perfection. Things can be, as I wrote in the book, just right.

Our time in New Mexico was sufficient, and we felt the push-pull that one feels on a longer vacation of wanting to stay longer, but also being ready to return home, even with the stifling heat and the crazy that is the few days leading up to the first day of school.

This year was a milestone for both boys. Jasper started the 2nd grade and Heath, our 14 month old, started going to his little day-school twice a week for half days.

David and I received a pleasant little surprise on the first day of Jasper’s school, which turned out to be Heath’s first day too. What started as a trip to Heath’s school to get paperwork, ended with the happy little one year old trundling off to the water pools with his teacher.

Monday turned out to be his scheduled day for fun, so we were in business. We looked at each other, much as, I imagine, parents do when they send their last child off to college or to work or to travel and are faced with an empty house, but we burst out laughing, feeling at the same time a little bereft and shocked, but totally elated.

A whole year and change have gone by since we introduced him to the world. Our life is back (sort of!) We went (floated in the sky, it felt like) to breakfast and had adult conversations that were not interrupted by feeding babies or wiping away spilled water, or hearing the latest knock-knock jokes. We went to breakfast to be together and hold hands and talk about…the kids. We totally talked about the kids! Of course, we did!

The new-found space of having both of the little ones in school was timed perfectly. I am knee-deep in writing, planning a magical retreat in Italy that I am SO excited for, and preparing for all of the astro magic of 2020 – get a sneak peek here.

David is editing and being an engaged dad to our little boys, making art and filling our home with music and doing a million other things too. And we are relishing the hours we have together.

There could always be more…more time, more space, more energy, but chasing after more is also so very exhausting. It feels better to actually enjoy where we are right now, to know and feel that right here is enough, sufficient, and just right.

So this Hearth and Home is for those of you who always feel behind or not quite up to par, or like your best efforts still come in somewhere around the middle of the heap: see if there isn’t something about your efforts that is sufficient, and that you are enough, exactly as you are, right here, and right now.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 11 The Angel’s Share

Foundations

M

iracles,

Happy and blessed New Moon in Capricorn! This is a moon for business and strategy, plotting and planning. It falls at the beginning of the New Year when everyone is all about planning anyway. Our visions of sugar plums have been replaced by bullet journaling, filofaxes, the magic that is JetPens, and of course the Sacred Arts Book of Hours.

I love planning and planners. I always have. My Venus is in Virgo which means that organization is like catnip for me. I especially love working with astrology and planning by starlight. Years ago, when I was pregnant with Jasper, our oldest, one of my colleagues asked me how I was doing everything that I did. I was over 6 months pregnant and my business was exploding with both one-on-one work and teaching. My response? A ruthlessly organized and followed calendar. Plotting everything out and physically making time for each thing on my calendar – and then actually following through with it – allowed me to grow my business while also fostering the growth of a baby.

At the end of 2017, when I knew I was pregnant with our second child and had a book deal (and therefore a book to write) in my hot little hand, I realized that I needed to take planning to a whole new level. You name it, and not only did I have it on my calendar, I had auto-scheduled it in my email server and on social media. Every “t“ was crossed and every “i” was dotted, and everything had been triple checked by myself and my team.

Whew. Does it sound exhausting? Planning actually doesn’t have to be. It is very clear to me that I could not have done everything that I did in 2018 if I had not allowed some very well made plans to shape and inspire my work. Yes, inspire! Planning has given me the time and space that I needed to write my book and be with my little guys, the time I took to make and plot them was time incredibly well spent.

For those of us who never feel like we have the time or space to do what our heart longs for – actually being able to have the time and space is sometimes all you need to catch the scent of the wild animal we call magic. As sacred artists, then, I think it’s high time we give the art and practice of planning it’s proper place…as a much needed sacred art in the 21st century.

After one of the most exciting years for me both personally and professionally, does it surprise you to hear that my New Year’s Resolution is to slow down in the right way and not plan things in detail? On the one hand, this is hilarious…I have a book coming out this year. I will be traveling some to promote it, teaching classes, and I have a whole bunch of new exciting things to share with you all. Plus, Heath will turn one this year. Those of you who know young children know that this means he will start walking and talking. And if Jasper at one was any indication, that means that all of the silverware in my household has to go up on the counters – especially the knives – and all the outlets have to be plugged up VERY securely. So…slow down? Ha!

But I am. In the right way, and this is key. And for me, part of that means – gulp! – not planning everything down to the tiniest detail. There are several reasons for this. This article gave one good one that has to do with productivity and the endless, ceaseless, calls to be more productive (whatever that means) and how they are a bit, or a lot, tyrannical.

Plans are sneaky. You create them, and you feel in charge. But they have a way of turning that around – so that you are tempted to stay on task and keep to the plan even when that doesn’t feel right, even when that isn’t really in alignment with what you are focused on or what your community is asking for. This did not happen to me. In the middle of one of my busiest periods last year I heard a clear call to offer up a certain kind of magic – a healing kind – to the community. It involved consecrating crystals over a full moon cycle and sending out readings to those who needed them and I had ZERO time for it, but I did it because I heard the call. And when I learned that there were some people in our community healing from heartbreak and cancer and physical abuse…well, it made sense and affirmed what I have always known which is that my Holy Helpers know better than I do. So I listened and responded.

But it was hard, harder than it should have been, because my plans had gone from creating more space, freedom, and time, to locking me into routines and commitments that did not allow much room for spontaneity and the magic of the unexpected. Making room for the unexpected is something I am devoted to – I think in our world and maybe in all worlds, we have to be. The unexpected illness, playdate, gallery opening, writing opportunity, teaching engagement, friend from out of town who bought a surprise plane ticket and showed up, job loss, financial hit – the unexpected is the thread shot through with the glitter and the grit that makes the warp and weft of our lives so very interesting and precious. In whiskey making there is a term to explain the 2% loss of liquid that occurs during the ageing process (usually occurring in wooden barrels), it is known as the Angel’s Share – this is the offering up of whiskey that is made to the angels (or if you talk to old whiskey makers from old parts of the world, the faeries). It is not perceived as a loss but rather an offering.

So I am doing the same thing with my plans for 2019 in the name of slowing down in the right way. This is where planning is lifted to a whole new level – from a compulsive activity to a genuine art. Plans will have to be made, charted and plotted. But there will also be spaces left clear and clean and unfilled. In the name of creativity, spontaneity, and the unexpected. I’m leaving spaces open so that I can hear what I need to hear, know what I need to know, and do what I need to do…for myself and my family and for our greater community. Think of it as an offering to the angels and the faeries, the glitter and the grit.

Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

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.