Hearth and Home Vol. 18: Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles, fold ’em

Blessed New Moon in Scorpio! This October has been a magical month for the family, mostly because, for the first time since having one child in school full-time, I went into October KNOWING and EXPECTING that it would be busy, busy, busy.

For those of you who don’t have children in school, let me take a moment to explain. October, which happens to be the month when I celebrate my birthday and my anniversary, and the month when many of us witch-kind celebrate Samhain and (in my neck of the woods) the Days of the Dead, ALSO happens to be the month when every school and music function takes place as well. If you are not attending an event for your kids, then chances are you are attending one for someone else’s kids. This just IS an incontrovertible fact – you can’t fight it.

So this year, instead of resisting, I went in with the expectation that yes, every weekend would be busy and spoken for and that yes, with a little planning and a dose of magic, we would get our pumpkins carved and our Halloween tables set up before the mad rush on Thursday night. I knew too that Mercury was going into retrograde on the 31st, so I’ve made sure that we have all of our ducks in a row BEFORE the tricking and treating begins.

Underneath all of the day-to-day busy-ness of costume selection and school festival attending, I have been paying attention to the theme of a lineage that is always present for me, but especially so this time of year.

On my birthday this month, I had a big realization about a piece of the lineage puzzle for me that I had been consistently enchanting around for many years. The message came loud and clear from my Ancestors.

“You have done the work on this, now let GO.”
Well, I said to them, “I mean, I’ve done it this way but maybe if I tweak it this way…”
“NO. LET IT GO.”
“So I hear what you are saying, I really do but I also think that if…”
“Are we not making ourselves clear to you? LET IT GO.”

So I did. I dropped it, I stopped enchanting around it actively, and I re-set some of the long term work to address other things. The very next day I received a very clear sign that this had been the right move. All of which is to say that, as the country song says, you need to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.

The releasing work is also part of what it means to honor our ancestors and untangle our lineage. Interestingly, a few days after this occurred, I received another powerful message about a totally unrelated part of my lineage. My Beloved Dead are certainly active right now, as I know many of yours have been.

Since the last time I sent an update, I have received so many notes from people who are loving the two ongoing threads I have on FB: Find the Helpers and Magic Happens. If you need to follow something positive and inspiring, with the occasional interruption of silly or downright nerdy, then you will want to follow or friend me there. If you want to hear what is happening in book and business land, please like my page and join the newly re-vamped Sacred Artists group.

And…speaking of the book, if you have read it and enjoyed it won’t you please leave a review on Amazon? They really help other people find the book.

Oh! And more book news! I am very happy to announce that a work I contributed to, The Karma of Cats, is now out and available from Sounds True. Get it at your local bookstore or from Amazon. You can see a picture of our kittens and read about how they came into our lives and what they have taught us.

Our family wishes you a truly delightful Halloween, a blessed New Year for those who celebrate Samhain, and joy-filled Days of the Dead!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 17: All Stars All the Time

Alchemy and Magic

M

Miracles, moon

Happy New Moon in Libra! I possessively consider this “my” New Moon. Why? I am doing some deep magic during this time, sowing seeds for even bigger magic that will come to fruit later on this month when the full moon occurs…on my birthday!

It is appropriate to begin this missive talking about the moon because I feel like I am saturated with brilliant moon-shine, stardust, and planetary frequencies. Did you know that the planets make sounds? I’m in full tilt astro mode because I’m working on my second book which is about astrology and parenting.

At the same time, I am preparing the Mercury Retrograde Survival Kit reports and the Star Stories for 2020. I am doing both of these reports pretty early because I think in both cases it is useful to have the information sooner.

For Mercury Retrograde especially I like people to have at least a week to work with their information before the planet retrogrades. In the case of the Star Stories, it is necessary to start early. Each report takes 3-4 hours to put together and I have 40 to complete! A lot of my clients do their planning for the next year in November and December, so I like them to have next year’s astro info as early as possible.

And of course, while tackling all of this, I’m still sharing far and wide the joy of my first book! I recently got to sit down with Michael Stone for an interview that covered a big range of topics: from magic (naturally enough) to enlightenment philosophy, to the importance of language. You can listen to it right here.

One of the most lovely things has been opening up my inbox to find wonderful little messages from readers who just adored the book and wanted to reach out and say hi. I’ve had several mental health professionals seek me out specifically and give the book accolades, and I’ve also heard from a couple of folks in locked institutions (ie, jail) who were deeply moved by the book.

To me, this is far and away higher praise than any award or top pick book list could confer. (One day I want to go into the energetics of writing a book because it is so fascinating, but that’s another story.) But the short version is: it takes a lot of out of you!

I was speaking to a client of mine who has a BIG book coming out next year (you’ll see her name in national media coverage) and she was talking about how much energy the output has been for her. I reminded her that she will receive energy back from the book. In the most obvious way, remuneration, which honestly is usually not very much at all; but the money is not really the most important consideration in this case. The real exchange is when people reach out to you and say…your book…changed something for me. That is the payoff, the knowledge not so much that someone likes your work, but that your work is out there, being of good use to others.

The other big piece of personal news is that after a 9 month sabbatical I am back on Facebook. Why did I return? Well, Sounds True, my amazing publisher, invited me to do a Facebook Live video in their private book club group and I saw a host of familiar faces, people I realized I only get to see on Facebook. So I thought about it, got clear on my intentions, and returned in a way that works for me and my busy life. You can see on my page evidence of this work. When I am on Facebook, I am conveying a steady beam of goodness out into the noisy, negative world. So my personal profile is full of inspiring news and my business page features information about upcoming events, recipes, enchantments, how-to’s, classes, offerings, and of course…books!

In October David and I celebrate our fourteenth year of marriage and 17th year of togetherness. He continues to be my true love and best friend. We still feel like we got married yesterday and, perhaps most importantly of all, we still have so much FUN together!

Then, right after that milestone, I’ll be celebrating my 39th birthday — wha??? As I indicated above, it is happening on the Full Moon in October so I’m pretty excited.

Heath has started going 2 days a week to our local day school. He is enjoying it although he did get mad at the teachers when they encouraged him to move from an art making project onto something else (typical of this family!) But great teachers as they are, they let him continue working on his pictures – something he loves doing with his daddy and big brother. Jasper is playing flag football and composing music, getting ready to start learning the ‘cello, and planning an elaborate Halloween costume that involves a piano and a Phantom of the Opera costume.

So…as we round out September I am celebrating a rich month and getting ready for another. I’ll be back around the Full Moon with a lunar letter that looks a little different, as I’ll be focusing on specific ways to make magic. So keep your eyes out for that! In the meantime, blessings of the season and pumpkin-spiced kisses!!!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Tribe is Tribe

Foundations

M

iracles, tribe

I was in an import store shopping for my best friend’s birthday a few weeks ago. I had found a piece of jewelry that I knew she would love and as the store owner was ringing me up I was explaining to her that my bestie is originally from Iran and that while this piece is not from her home country she would still love and appreciate it.

The store owner interrupted me though and simply said, “She’ll love it because tribe is tribe.” Tribe is tribe. She said it with all of the confidence and clarity of a woman who has spent that majority of her life among and within tribes.

Tribe is tribe.

I know that in our never-resting news cycle the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio that occurred at the beginning of the month are old news for most of us. They have left, as all mass shootings have since 2011, their fingerprints all over me though and are still fresh.

As I fielded emails from people asking if I was alright and checked on my own set of family and friends with El Paso connections, I kept hearing that woman’s voice in my head – tribe is tribe.

And I wasn’t sure why but I knew it was important. Then I took a walk down one of my favorite streets where an Acequia was full of water and running at force and I remembered. What I remembered was a psych class I took about a hundred years ago.

We were studying mental health in indigenous populations and I learned that one of the indigenous populations found in New Mexico and Arizona – the Navajo People – have a very specific way of looking at mental illness (and many physical afflictions too). The understanding is that while one person in the tribe may show symptoms of illness, be it mental or physical, the entire tribe is actually afflicted and that any healing that is worth a damn will address not just the individual who is obviously ill but the entire tribe.

I have been marked by every mass shooting since 2011 because that is the year I had my first baby. And that is the year when I found myself worrying about everything: leaving out a tiny piece of something that the baby could choke on, losing him to SIDS, speeding cars, and falling shelves, and…going into a public place where my child could be shot and killed, or I could be shot and killed leaving my baby without a mother or my husband could be shot and killed leaving my baby without a father. 2011 is when I started taking it personally.

Every time I packed lunch for my little one to take to school I would lay down a prayer that my baby and every baby child would be protected from a bullet, that today would not be a day a mass shooter came to a school, a place of worship, a place of work, or a place of fun. Now that I no longer make his lunch I pray that prayer every morning.

And because my babies are beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed, boys, I also pray that they are never the ones holding a gun aimed at someone else’s baby – because the statistics indicate that my boys fall into the category of the ones most likely to commit a mass shooting as well as most likely to commit suicide with a gun.

I don’t go into politics in my work or my writing. I remember sitting in hard-backed pews at the Baptist church and resenting the hell out of a preacher who had the audacity to tell me who to vote for. Dressing up that unique kind of tyranny in the “New Age” trappings of incense and crystals don’t make me feel any better. I believe our founders knew what they were about when they separated church and state.

However, for better or for worse, I am a spiritual teacher and writer and as such, I have a community of people who look to me for moral guidance. When the bullets start to fly I am asked to give words of comfort, clarity, and wisdom. To be clear: this is a task that I in no way feel adequate to, but it is also one that has been laid on my shoulders by nature of my work. So this is what I say: Tribe is Tribe.

And the killings and the killers are part of our tribe. There are many people in our tribe who are ill, who are hurting, and who are sick, but at the end of the day, all that really means is that our whole tribe is hurting, is ill, and is sick. Any remedy that further separates us from each other is no remedy at all and any attempt to bring some of the tribe together while leaving others out in the cold has failed before it even begins.

In 2011 I joined a special club, a tribe within a tribe, of parents who send their children to school every day praying that today won’t be the day that their child’s classroom door bursts open and guns begin shooting. We pray that today won’t be the day our babies are shot, today won’t be the day our babies are killed.

But this is not just my club, my tribe, or my problem. Tribe is tribe. This is everyone’s problem. The fact that bulletproof backpack sales have gone up 300% before the 2019-2020 school year begins is not my problem or the problem of my other parent friends, it is also my Republican uncle’s problem, my Progressive mother-in-law’s problem, and it is your problem too. Because tribe is tribe.

Every baby that dies and every person who thinks they can solve their problems with a gun pointed at someone else is everyone’s problem, the only way to address it is together, most especially together with the very ones you don’t want to deal with. You know, the difficult members of the tribe who look different and talk different, the ones that make you uncomfortable, the ones you’d rather not talk to.

You know Miracles, the inverse is also true. If one person commits to healing, to betterment, to living a life of integrity and justice and kindness then the tribe as a whole is blessed by that too. One of my favorite stories to illustrate this comes from the Jewish tradition.

It is the tale of the Tzadikim-Nistarim – the hidden righteous ones. They are 13 people who, through consistent right action, uphold the entire world and make life possible for all. My favorite part of this story is that these righteous ones are hidden even from themselves.

Meaning that it could be you, it could be me, it could be any of us. Because what one of us does touches all of us. Because tribe is tribe. And because there is nowhere else to go, nowhere else to be, but right here, with everyone else.

Here is a version of the prayer that I pray over my babies on a daily basis, feel free to work with it in your own life if it speaks to you.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 14 Summer and Celebrations

Foundations

M

iracles,

Happy New Moon in Cancer!

Summer has struck. I always know it is the season of sun and fun because our dinner schedule is jettisoned in favor of playdates, poolside meetups, and the occasional margarita!

I went back over my letters to see when the last Hearth and Home went out and it was right after Jasper’s 8th birthday at the beginning of March. So much has happened since then.

School let out for the summer and Jasper officially moved into 2nd grade. The book came out, then it hit #1 in several different Amazon categories and continues to be a best seller there (which is crazy and amazing and gives me all the feels). We went to the beach (the above pic is from our trip).

Then, on June 13th Heath turned one!!! We had an ocean-themed birthday party for him complete with a chocolate smash cake that he, quite appropriately, played with more than he ate.

I have always written prayers for Jasper’s birthdays and I am going to do AIM’s – Active Imagination Meditations for Heath’s. I know which one I want to do I just have to find the time to sit down and record it. In a stunning move

Heath actually allowed my mom and dad to watch him for a couple of hours and David and I got to go out on a date just by ourselves. We went to see a movie and basically acted liked giggly teenagers the entire time – it was so great!

Somehow in the middle of all of this, I was able to do the first of several interviews, got featured in one of my favorite magazines – Enchanted Living, and also had an article published in Yoga Journal and another in Spirituality and Health Magazine – crazy times y’all!

I created a series of AIM’s that pairs beautifully with each chapter of Making Magic and I also created a Pinterest board for folks who want to add some visuals to their making magic journey! In mid-June, I taught a class to a bunch of brilliant souls about the Astro drama that is the month of July and I received some more very exciting book-related news which I will be sharing with this list first.

It hasn’t all been good or easy. There has been sorrow. I had to cancel my CA book signings and then I had to cancel the one at BookPeople in Austin because the baby was sick.
True story: when Making Magic first came out I sent a letter to a best-selling author that I know and she responded with congratulations and also with the advice that I put being a mother before any book promotion. It was smart advice coming from someone who knows and it has already really helped me in making a few decisions.

I know that each person reading this has their own personal struggles and snares and I know too that so many of us look at the news every day, hear and see stories of violence and heartbreak, and feel that we are emptied out of something essential and good and true. The biggest piece of personal work I do around all the stories and events stepped in violence, cruelty, and hurt, is to remain tender when it would be so, so, easy to be hard and cynical.

It has been a whirlwind. A really good, really fast, whirlwind. What has kept me sane through it all? Early morning ritual practice out in the extremely humid South Texas air before the sun rises, snuggling up with my boys at night after a long day, curling up with my husband to watch the new season of Endeavor, and now, getting ready to head out to the Land of Enchantment for a few weeks.

I ended the week of June with a family celebration of my first book. It is the kind of thing that I would never think to do (my auntie threw the party for me) and also the kind of thing that is SO important to do – to make a celebration of the accomplishments, big and little, that we achieve. I know so many of you are busy at this time of year too and I hope you remember that – let yourself feel sorrow when it shows up, but also take the time to celebrate, to honor, to mark out what matters most.

Soulful Seekers Spotlight

Theresa AKA the Tarot Lady and Shaheen Miro have a new book out!

Ellie has started a new business venture. In her own words “I work with dynamic, fun people, like you, who want to transform their lives by starting a business infused with compassion and mindfulness. You’re looking for a group of like-minded individuals to practice with and are ready to create more freedom and more money in your life.” Email her directly to learn more at ellienihon@gmail.com

And kind words about one community member from another – this is from Jennifer K:

“The development of my Northstar Ritual deepens as I use products created with sacred energy.
I was lucky enough to meet Jen Rue in Santa Fe and was gifted with one of her products at your seminar. The use of her Love The Girls oil for lymph and breast greatly enhanced my abhyanga practice and actual physical flow of my lymph.

In the past two years, I incorporated Jen’s Conifer Oil and Florida Water into my practice and I deeply appreciate the creation of the limitless sacred space her products energy gives.

Products that include sacred awareness in the making are ever so powerful, the sweetness and soft comfort of Jen’s energy is a joy to experience.

Hip hip hooray for the work of Jen Rue and Three Cats and a Broom.”

Can I just say that I concur?! You can order Jen’s goodies here.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 8 – Refilling the Cup

Learning and Community

M

iracles,

Happy October!!! On the night of September 30th, as I was cleaning up from the Archangel Michael Feast Day, I glanced at my October calendar, and nearly started to hyperventilate. Oh. My. Goodness. We are now full-on in the season of magic, which means that I am full-on busy, add to that all of the school functions that happen in October, the birthdays (mine!!!) and anniversaries (also mine!!!) that also occur in October.

Looking at October, I began to feel what I can only describe as dread at all the busy-ness, which is NOT how I wanted to go into the month. So I stopped before panic mode truly set in, and I asked myself: OK, Bri – you know you have a lot going on this month, so what practices do you need to be really vigilant about in order to enjoy your favorite month of the year?

I thought about this question, and I felt into it just as I have my students do. I realized that I needed to commit to practices that really support me in feeling expansive when it comes to time and space. The month had not even started and I was feeling like I did not have either! For me, these practices are active imagination journeys – the kind we do in Spinning Gold and the kind I have taught in the Miracle Tree Sessions for several years now. They always begin with cultivating calmness, then my working place in the Otherworld always starts at the crossroads and I go from there. I was telling a friend of mine that the first part of the year, right up to this month, has felt like a huge out-breath. It has been so active. I have been so active. Writing a book, having a baby, traveling quite a bit over the summer, a full roster of students that I work with one on one…all really good things that I absolutely love and also all very outwardly active experiences.

Now that the skies are grayer and the weather will (maybe? hopefully!) start to cool down, I was struck so profoundly with the need to go inwards. For me that is more quiet time in my daily practice and prayers, planning with an eye to next year, and reading, reading, reading. I stayed away from reading books while I was writing my own because I needed to WRITE, but now I am making up for lost time and averaging about a book a day. Not even kidding. I’m reading fiction, non-fiction, and everything in between. I am spending time listening to podcasts and just soaking in inspiration and ideas and gorgeous words. This is better than any ten thousand dollar retreat – holding Heath, reading or listening to something interesting, then turning to my husband and talking with him about it. This, my friends, is pure gold in Briana-land.

So I’m reading, I’m cooking more, I’m making time and space to write, I’m playing with my three month old, I’m snuggling down with my seven year old and telling him a different version of Blue Beard or the Twelve Dancing Princesses or Iron Heinrich every night. I’m listening to my Holy Helpers. I feel the next wave of creative ideas and inspiration coming.  I can see the shadows that wave is casting – good, robust, luminous-on-the-inside shadows. I can taste its depths, and I am taking care of myself, re-filling my cup, so that when it is ready to crest I will be ready.

These realizations turned what was looking like a pretty scraggly cat of a month into something glossy and plump, wild, and wise. A time of year that I am actually going to linger through and savor and enjoy. My birthday is this month on October 13th and on that same day Heath turns four months old. He continues to be a really happy child, reminding me to RELAX and PLAY and have FUN. Our seven year old, Jasper, teaches me how to be patient and to live within my creativity. J is a deeply artistic child (I’ve shared some of his drawings before and those of you who have met him in real life know what I am talking about). He is the kind of child who does not do something creative, he lives it. By which I mean, he has to be reminded as all 7 year olds do, to put on shoes and brush teeth and feed fish, but he does not have to be asked to play the piano from hi heart or to sit down and draw or to build something out of Jenga blocks. He just does it, as naturally as you please. And sometimes it is funny and sometimes it is weird, and sometimes it is deeply divine and makes you feel like angels striding through your living room. That is living within our creativity. My 7 year old is an excellent teacher and I am trying to keep up with the lessons.

This is also the month when I celebrate being married to be the most incredible man – for twelve years now! David is the best husband, best dad, best partner is business and in life I could ever have been blessed with. He is without a doubt my person, my guy, my love. Both my birthday and our anniversary will be celebrated with good food and forays into the forests as soon as the weather cools down and the mosquitoes become a little less blood thirsty. As I dance into my 38th year I just feel so grateful. So grateful to our gorgeous community, so grateful that I get to wake up and do work that I love with people that I love every single day. So grateful that my beloved and I get to spend our days together, working, wrangling, and loving each other as we do. It is not always easy, this magical, enchanted life; but I would not trade it for anything, and I cannot pretend to be anything other than deeply blessed. So many of you who are reading this have helped make that possible in countless big and small ways. My gratitude to all of you is truly boundless. And I have so many fun things coming up in 2019 to help show that gratitude. I cannot wait to tell you all about them – soon, soon!

A bunch of you have asked about the book and what is happening with it now. So we are now in the copy-editing phase of the production. This is a different kind of editing than what we were engaged in before – if book production was compared to a manicure, then this part is the application of the clear, fast drying top coat. It is important because it brings yet another level of cohesion to the entire manuscript (and it has us all bowing down in devotion to the Chicago Manual of Style). We are now in the last leg of the book formation journey. Any small changes I want to make to the book have to be made by October 31st (yes I know, how perfect is that?).  After that day, any changes start to slow down the next leg of the book birthing process. So I am lingering over my book this month, spending a lot of time with it, taking it for walks, for long baths, going over every word and sentence, story and idea, because once it is out in the world on shelves and in hands, it is not mine any longer, it becomes yours, all of yours, and I want to give you something lovely and thought provoking and well-made.

I am also in the endorsement gathering phase. Getting endorsements is straight up going out into a neighborhood and knocking on a bunch of doors, and asking people who are known to be gifted in seeing and assessing and blessing if they will spare the time and the effort and take a moment to bless you, to bless your work. That’s what you are doing: you are asking for and gathering up blessings. It takes courage. Sometimes the answer is no. But often the answer is yes and the blessing received is so much more than the seeker could have ever imagined. There are more pieces around the book that I will be asking you about soon as I need your input and opinions.

I’ve also turned my attention to writing new material, starting with a long article about Witches that many of you emailed me about and generously shared your thoughts. I love those exchanges. It usually takes me a few days to get back to all of the emails but I love them. It means so much and it is such a blessing to be able to hear what you have to say, what my words encourage you to think about and speak out about in your own lives. That is, hands down, my favorite part of the internet, and we do not even have to do it through social media! I can just write something and send it out to y’all and y’all show up with brilliance every single time. How stellar is that?

So I wrote earlier about re-filling my cup, and here are some of the ways I have been doing it. I have been reading this and this and this. Listening to this. Playing with this and covering myself with these. And I have also made some things for you because I love making things for you. I wrote a little guide on how to incorporate astrology into your planning processes – I call it Planning by Starlight and you can snag it here – totally free: enjoy! I have a blessing for the New Moon in Libra right here for you. And I also want to remind you that I have a litany of blessings if you ever need to be washed over with blessings. Theresa and I have a new podcast episode up. There are also a bunch of articles on working with, honoring, and celebrating our Beloved Dead as we enter into Ancestor Season. And reminder, if you want to know what the latest offerings are, you need to sign up for this email list as I keep this one commercial free. And I wish this for you: a decadent, delicious, sweet as honey, October for you – a time that you are really able to enjoy and appreciate and dive into.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.