You Are Here And You Are Needed

Alchemy and Magic

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lessed Full Moon in Aquarius, Miracles. needed 

Today I have something special – a ritual designed for this Full Moon – that speaks to a trend I have been seeing of late.

In so many of the conversations I have had with students, clients, and folks who write to me after (or while) they are reading Making Magic I have heard the same refrains:

I am tired.
Worn out.
Tapped out.
Exhausted.
I just want to take a nap.
I’m over it.
Does any of it matter?

Underneath all of these perfectly understandable feelings I hear a bigger question: do I even matter?

And it can seem, in the face of global pandemics and crisis upon crisis, that we don’t.

It gets easier every day to believe there really is nothing a single person can do to make things better, to heal the hurt places, or mend the tears or protect what is precious.

But, here’s the thing, you are here and you are needed.

Mathematically, the odds are against you from the outset. Ancestor upon ancestor, the event upon event had to come together in just the right way for you to be right here, right now.

As is often the case, math points the way to magic.

You are here and you are needed because you have one of a kind, perfectly unique, and absolutely required magic for this world right here and right now.

This is a ritual that on the one hand, reminds us of that, and on the other, calls that magic – and whatever sustains it – forward. Because really loves, now is the time.

Ritual ~

If you want a PDF version of this ritual, you can download one right here.

Prompts for Ritual Petition/Prayer:
What magic do I have to share?
Who/What is it for?
What nourishes that magic and keeps it flowing?

Time:
As long as it takes. This ritual could be 5 minutes or 5 days or 5 weeks

Materials:
Ingredients for Sacred Bathing pre-ritual work. For more on Sacred Bathing go here.
Petition/Prayer
An object/image/word that represents the magic you know you are meant to share.
An object/image/word that represents whatever it is that nourishes that magic and keeps it flowing.
Birdseed
Any other ritual accouterments that you would like (candles, incense, altar, rocks, dirt, plants, talismans), students of mine will want to have their cords for this rite as they should for all rituals and ceremonies.

Timing:
You may begin this ritual on the day of the Full Moon but it need not be completed on the same day and most likely will not be. Feeling, thinking, and knowing your way into the prompts is, as always, the most important pre-ritual work that you can do, so as always, take your time with this piece, it may need several days to unfold, answers may come to you in bits and pieces, through dreams and snatches of song, and found letters – let the magic have its time to work and do not rush it. On the other hand, if you immediately know the needed responses then honor that as well and get down to the writing of your petition/making of your prayer.

Process:
There are two pre-ritual actions required for this work. The first is to work with the given prompts (or the personal prompts that they inspire) and from your answers craft your petition/prayer. You may craft your petition in formal language, in rhyme, in image or movement or song. You may craft it with beads or sacred waters or sacred smoke – it is up to you as always. I recommend words, uttered or written, straight from the heart. If you find you need a little extra assistance, here is a guide:

Blessed Ones whom I hold most dear, thank you for this day, for all the days that I have known and for all the days I have yet to experience. Today I come ready and willing to share (name your unique magic) with the world and whomever or whatever has need of it, especially (name who or what your magic is especially for). I honor this deepest part of myself by ensuring that it is properly cared for, fed, and nourished by many acts, especially (name the actions that most nourish your magic) so that I am able to give and receive in right and good measure. For I know that I am here and that I am needed. I hear the call and always will respond as I can in the ways available to me. Amen/May it be/And so it is

Once you have your petition/prayer you may gather up the rest of the needed materials, including the ingredients you will want to incorporate into your pre-ritual bath.

I will not tell you what ingredients to use because this is your pre-ritual bath and I trust that you know what ingredients are most appropriate for YOU and for this particular work.

Set up your working area so that the image/word/object that represents your magic is at the center of your working space and the birdseed is on top of it. Below the pile of birdseed is the image/object/word that represents what nourishes your particular magic. It is positioned below because what nourishes your magic is the foundation from which your magic springs.

Arrange any other ritual accouterments as you like. Those who work with a cord or lasso, make sure that it is applied to the part of your body where it will be most supportive.

Cultivate Calmness.
Open the space for ritual in whatever way you are accustomed to. If this is brand new to you, you may simply say:
I stand between the worlds where space and time are limitless and absolute. As I talk, may I speak, as I hear may I listen, as I look may I see, as I smell may I sense, as I taste may I savor. May my Holy Helpers, Ancestors, and Descendants bear witness to my work as I strive for right relationship with all beings. Amen/May it be/And so it is.

Scoop up some of the birdseed into the palm of your hands.
Take in a deep breath of gratitude for your physical body and as you exhale in thanks blow your breath into the birdseed.
Take in a deep breath of gratitude for the land where you live and the creatures seen and unseen who are part of it and as you exhale in thanks blow your breath into the birdseed.
Take in a deep breath of gratitude for the ones that you love and as you exhale in thanks blow your breath into the birdseed.
Take in a deep breath of gratitude for the many paths you travel and as you exhale in thanks blow your breath into the birdseed.
Take in a deep breath of gratitude for the ones who have come before and the ones who will come after and as you exhale in thanks blow your breath into the birdseed.
Finally, take in a deep breath of gratitude for your magic and as you exhale in thanks blow your breath into the birdseed.
Place the birdseed back where it was.

Utter your petition/prayer over the working space in whatever way is best. If your petition/prayer is a dance then you dance it, if it is a song then you sing it, if it is a painting then you show it, etc.

As you are ready take the birdseed outside and either fill up a bird feeder or scatter it on the ground, as you do so, you may say the following:
With each seed taken up by each winged, furred, or fanged creature, so my magic is taken up and into this world that so sorely needs it. For each life that is somewhat sustained by this food, so my magic is sustained by (insert the name of what it is that nourishes your magic) and I commit to ensuring that I am as well nourished as I can be at all times. Amen and may it be so.

You may close the ritual space as you like or say the following:
Gratitude to my Ancestors, Descendants, and Holy Helpers for bearing witness to my work. Gratitude to the winged, furred, and fanged creatures for carrying my magic forward, here in between the worlds I have learned anew to savor, sense, see, listen, and speak. May these acts bring and keep me in right relationship with all beings ever and always. Amen/May it be/And so it is.

Conclude the ritual with whatever it is that nourishes your unique magic.

Place the images/words/objects that represent your magic and that which nourishes it somewhere where you can see them and learn from them over the next month.
needed needed 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer: What Nourishes?

Foundations

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iracles, nourishes

While there is definitely a focus on personal relationships during Mercury retrograde in Cancer, that is not the only area of life touched by this astro-event. Cancer is the sign of home and family, even the sign of Moms and Mothering but it is also the sign the presides over the ways that we relate to food and nourish ourselves.

That means that this is a wonderful time to reassess our habits around food, cooking, and eating. Again, recent events already have had us preparing to do this. Long lines at grocery stores and the unavailability of certain items have meant that many people who before 2020 did not know how to boil water can now whip up a decent three course meal. Veggie gardens and backyard chickens are in many ways the new black for 2020 but this Mercury RX period intensifies our ability to really dig into the theme of nourishment.

We can do this by thinking about our kitchen (and actually organizing your kitchen and making a list of what tools you do and do not need) is a great way to begin the process. Consider putting a shrine up in the kitchen to your favorite Ancestor who loved to cook or to a Holy Helper like St. Pasqual – the patron Saint of cooking! Then, dig into what really leaves you feeling good and nourished as far as food goes. You can even experiment with making magical recipes!

Are there foods that you have been eating that do not leave you feeling your best? Identify them and take the needed steps to remove them from your diet. If you have not identified any foods that don’t agree with you, don’t be surprised if during this period you discover that there are some. Are there foods that you love that you consistently forget to include? Make room for those as well.

This can be a wonderful time to take a cooking class, buy a new recipe book, or dive into the food of a particular region that you have not yet experimented with. This can be an excellent time to plant a garden if you don’t have one or learn about various community CSA’s that allow you to support local farmers.

Though the focus is on food and wine allow yourself to expand your considerations to ALL of the things that leave you feeling nourished.  nourishes nourishes

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Balancing Acts

Ceremony and Ritual

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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.

Magical Missive: How to create an Ancestor-informed Tarot Reading

Divination and Dreams

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ow is the time of year that many of us feel drawn closer and closer to the liminal, the medial, all that is ‘betwixt and between.’

For my part, I have found that the period roughly from Samhain (pronounced Sowen) on October 31st until New Years Eve on January 1st is a pause between the old and the new. For me, the time between the ending of one year and the beginning of a new year, is like the time between conception and birth, the space and pause between breathing out and breathing in. It is a time for gathering the internal resources to be able to truly call out, proclaim, celebrate or welcome the new year.

A large number of my ancestors understood October 31st to mark the end of the calendar year. Feasts were prepared and ancestors were consulted as tribes and communities prepared to enter into the dark season of the year when faeries, ghosts, but also miracles and saints were believed to walk among the living. Across an ocean and in a new land, another group of ancestors marked January 1st as the beginning of the calendar year – and handed down a number of revelries, divinations, and charms to celebrate and validate the transition from old to new.

What I have found is that my ancestors, though they came from many different parts of the world, spoke many different tongues, and all looked different (from each other and from me), also each had an understanding and insight that has been handed down from one pair of hardworking hands to the next until it was given to me. Part of that understanding is how to work with and view this particular time of year.

The nature of this time of year is liminal. If we know how to attune to it, we find ourselves able to concourse with a realm beyond time and beyond space. As such it is the perfect opportunity to do what so many cultures and tribes and peoples from around the world have done and continue to do – speak to the Dead, the Invisible, the Unseen, with an eye to the Living. The ways of doing this are myriad.

Here is a simple divination I performed this year in consulting with my own Beloved Dead, and I thought it might be of use for some of you.

Build an ancestor altar, and devote your time and loving attention to it.

I started by building our ancestor altar. The process commenced at the beginning of October right after Michaelmas. On the evening of November 1st we prepared the traditional foods and drinks that our beloved ones loved in life, and offered them up along with plenty of incense and candle light to help our old ones find their way to their temporary home. That first night we sat quietly together and remembered our beloved dead. We spoke to our little one who is four and who naturally understood that the hot chocolate and pan de muerto were supposed to be shared among the living and the dead. I thanked our ancestors for watching over us and guiding us throughout this past year and for being the strong shoulders upon which I stand. In this first night of bittersweet celebration there was no asking, but simply offering up good things and saying thank you.

Before the sun rises, get your cards, ask for assistance and get down to business.

On the morning of November 2nd I got up bright and early before the sun rose. I fixed a cup of strong coffee and chocolate for myself and offered one to the ancestors and then I sat down with a couple of talismans, my prayer shawl, and my cards to get down to business. I blessed all of the ancestors and then asked them to assist me in getting information for my family to better engage with our next year.

Major Arcana

Begin with the Major Arcana. Because this is a family matter, I pull cards not only for myself but for my loved ones too. This and one other time of year are the only times when I divine for our entire family.

Pull one major arcana card for each family member you are going to read for. The question that I hold in my heart when I do this is: what do I most need to know/what does X most need to know as we head into another year?

Remember that the major arcana cards are invitations. Ask yourself: Does the card present energy and understanding that you want to step into or is it something that you need to step out of?

For married couples you may pull one major for each individual and then a third for the relationship.

Minor Arcana

Then onto practical matters. Traditionally divination, especially at this time of the year is meant to be practical and concrete. So I turn my attention to the minor arcana.

After pulling the minor arcana card, I pull four more for each person I am reading for. They are laid out in a line and are read as first, second, third, and fourth quarter of the upcoming year. This allows the cards to be taken on their own but also placed in context so that a story can be told with them. If there is a card that needs more explanation then pull a fifth card to attain that information.

Don’t forget the BIG questions!

Finally, if there are BIG questions that the entire family is concerned with – projects, endeavors, big choices, you may ask about them directly and pull one card (I pull from the minor arcana with an eye to practical wisdom) for each question.

In my own practice, the divination lasts as long as the sun has not risen. Once the sun is up the session is over. I make a note of the cards I received for myself and for anyone else who wanted me to read for them, and then I go back to sitting with my ancestors, thanking them for the presence and their patience with me.

On the night of November 2nd we will have a final celebration where I will make more foods that are beloved by our way back people, load up the altar with more offerings, and then on the morning of November 3rd we will prepare to say farewell, for now.

I will hold the images and messages received in the early morning divination close to heart and mind over the next two months. I will dream, peer at the upcoming astrological transits, tell stories, remember stories that were told to me, go for walks with my beloved, laugh with my little boy, and listen above all. I will listen as the sun dips lower earlier, the wind caresses leaves and bare branches, and the squirrels with their mouths full of pecans scurry across our rooftops. I will listen to the ones who have gone before me and who see beyond me, and a little bit each day I will weave the story of my next year into being, carrying it with me wherever I go, listening and participating in other traditions of spying signs and celebrating the unseen, and preparing for all of the gatherings yet to come.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.