A Litany of Blessings For You and Your Friends to Share

Prayer and Blessing

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arch 1st is a magical day for me. blessings

It is the day that my little boy was born, 6 years ago now, and I became his momma.

I don’t talk about my son very much in the public sphere, not because he does not occupy my thoughts (he is the center of them always) but because in the age of internet everything, I respect his privacy, my privacy, the privacy of our family and I want to give him the opportunity to decide when, what, how, and with whom he wants to share. Sovereignty starts early.

That said, he, along with his dad, are two of my greatest blessings. And I firmly believe that one should be blessed and be a blessing in turn, so it’s time to share, in honor of him.

Here they are: A Litany of Blessings. Every daily blessing I have written in aural (audio + oral) magic.

Let them wash over you. Listen to a few or to the entire 40+ minute track, share it with a friend for maximum blessings awesome.

 

And happy birthday Jasper; thank you for blessing me.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

New Moon Notes: Aquarius Edition

Lunar Letter

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ear Miracles,

Blessed New Moon in Aquarius. Big thanks to all of you who celebrated Candlemas and Imbolg with me this year. Your prayers, intentions, petitions, and blessings to and for Brighid created a beautiful and potent altar of joy and devotion. As many of you know, St. Brighid/Goddess Brighid is honored for many things, among them the returning and strengthening light. Though spring may feel far away for many of us, Her presence reminds us that underneath the cold and frozen ground there is motion, warmth, and life – remember that it is this way for us too. I find that often at this point in the year we start feeling a bit dull and frayed around the edges – tired of Winter, not yet seeing Spring, and ready for something…new. And yet, within and underneath that dull and frayed surface there is so much and such continual life.

Aquarius is one of the signs that truly celebrates life, always showing up to ask: what’s new, what’s next, what’s possible, what seems impossible and how do we make that happen? This New Moon at 19 degrees Aquarius happens at 8:39 AM central time on February 8th. It is a wonderful time to ask: How do I honor new relationships and how do I renew old relationships?

As you think about this question and your own relationships, you may become aware that some relationships are in need not just of a new life but of healing. Or, as you consider what is new and next and possible for you right here and right now you might find that there are certain wounds that are finally ready to be dealt with. In this spirit, we are focusing on health and healing of body, heart, mind, and soul in our next Here Be Dragons Ceremony. Join here for $10.

For those who love their devotional candles, the next candle lighting will be on March 11th. Orders should be received no later than March 10th at 12-noon central time.

Remember, you can get accurate information and inspiring prompts tied to all of the major celestial events this year on the Astro RX 2016 page right here.

Adventures in Soulful Seeking

Love seems to be on everyone’s mind at this time of the year. Here are my favorite (and most popular) posts on love, relationships, and desire:

For those of you wondering about reconciling with a past lover – it is often possible, but the first step is much closer to home.

Care is an integral part of love. And where does care begin? With yourself of course.

Along those lines, here is the very popular Blessing for the Body – a very deep Valentine’s Day or any day ceremony.

My favorite bit of love and romance alchemy? The making of a sweet and sublime honey jar.

If you are dreading Valentine’s Day and the whole “romance in the air” then I’ve got you covered.

And if you are more interested in what you will nibble on this month (as opposed to who you will nibble with) check out my Vday truffle recipes.

Finally, my personal favorite love post.

And, because receiving is nothing without giving, here are some of the things I am loving right now:

Theresa Reed’s new blog series on astrology, Star School, is seriously awesome.

The lovely Pamita of Parlour of Wonders has a nice give away when you sign up for her newsletter.

Téa Silvestre of Story Bistro is our next guest on Talking Shop this month – be sure to tune in and learn all about beautiful, soul-filled, approached to marketing. You can also snag the most recent Talking Shop show (during which we talked to the amazing Chris Zydel and got the inside scoop on creativity) right here.

Bari Tessler’s amazing program The Art of Money is starting – I know Bari, love her work and highly recommend this program – as usual I receive no kickbacks and I am not an affiliate, just a true believer!

Words and Wonderings

I have a bunch of reading suggestions for you all – which is appropriate given the fact that Aquarius LOVES books, information, reading, and learning (as any good Air sign does).

David Bowie. Alan Rickman. Paul Kantner. Abe Vigoda. Glen Frey. These are just a few of the celebrities that passed beyond the veil in January 2016. As a result, especially from Bowie and Rickman’s death, there was a huge outpouring of public grief on social media and of course the subsequent rebukes for those who made their feelings known. This Atlantic article looks at the public outpouring of grief throughout history and considers how it is working in our culture today. Of course for soulful seekers and those working with the sacred arts we recognize that there are ancestors of spirit as well as ancestors of flesh and blood and we honor our beloved dead, ALL of our beloved dead, accordingly.

And, if your heart is feeling a bit raw and bruised from all of the loss, then why don’t you spend some time with the daily blessing collection?

I am so excited about this: the world’s oldest temple is being restored!

Longtime readers of mine know that I adore Terri Windling’s blog. Her December post on Sacred Ground is of especial interest to our community, check it out.

It has been a good month for the happy marriage of high fashion and fairytales.

Actually, it has been a good month for fairy tale writings, period. Eyebrows raised when this article claiming that fairy tales are much older than we originally thought arrived. Some of us had the immediate response of “well, yes of course they are”, while others were not so sure. If you want to take the article a bit deeper, here is the research methodology that was employed. Wrap it all up with a final article on the ways in which these stories pre-date Christianity.

Some of these topics came up in a recent conversation we had in the Spinning Gold forum and I mentioned what my own approach to fairytales is…I work to understand the stories as they understand themselves. This is a point both my informal and formal education agrees on and it has served me well – may it do the same for you!

And one more (my personal favorite) on fairy tales by Philip Pullman, author of the Golden Compass books among others on the challenge of re-telling Grimm’s fairy tales. I have experienced much of what Pullman points out in my own re-telling of beloved stories for Spinning Gold – a highly challenging and highly rewarding endeavor.

This is what we are noshing on at my house right now, sans the MSG. Yum!

I’ll leave you with this final thought from Bruno Bettelheim’s wonderful book on fairy tales, healing children, and much more, The Uses of Enchantment:

“If we hope to live not just from moment to moment, but in true consciousness of our existence, then our greatest need and most difficult achievement is to find meaning in our lives.”

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

New Moon Notes – Capricorn Edition

Lunar Letter

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ear Miracles,

Over the past year I have had many new people show up in our community of sacred artists and soulful seekers. I’ve sent out Wonderment readings to so many bright souls around the world and I have received in turn many kind words and heart felt blessings. As we begin another turning of the wheel I would like to say a few words about the salutation that you find here and elsewhere in my writings – “dear Miracles”. Sometimes I change it up and refer to you all as “beautiful” or “stellar” or “kind” but always I follow the adjective of choice with the word Miracle. Why?

I do not call each of you miracles because I think it’s cute or darling or flattering. I call each of you miracles because it is 100% true. Think about it: think about all of the lives and loves, the sufferings, the triumphs, the victories of tens, hundreds, thousands, millions of people that led to you – a completely unique, one of a kind, deeply precious soul. Think about one day in your life: the countless number of functions our physical bodies perform without being asked to do so – the beating of heart, the beating butterfly wings of our lungs, the growth of hair and nail, the sloughing off of dead skin and waste. Think about your relationships with others; of each person and creature and being whose life you touch in some way every single day. To think of it for even a moment is dizzying to me and tells me one thing without a shadow of a doubt: you, yes you dear reader, are a miracle. Never doubt it.

Now let’s talk about the upcoming New Moon on January 9th. For those of you who like specifics the moon will be new at 19 degrees Capricorn, 7:31 PM cdt. A good question to ask around this lunar phase is: What needs to be renewed or refreshed in my career or craftsmanship?

The other essential bit of astrological information right now deals with our old friend, Mercury Retrograde.

On January 5th Mercury goes retrograde in the sign of Aquarius and then moving into the sign of Capricorn. Mercury will be retrograde from January 5th through January 25th.

You can read about Mercury Retrogrades here to learn more, but the question is always the same: how can we best deal and get through this period?

Last year I decided to experiment with taking a ceremony that I had done for myself and my family numerous times during Mercury RX and offering it to our community, I called it the Mercury RX Survival Kit – the response and results have been consistently solid so I am pleased to offer it once more – if the words “Mercury Retrograde” make you break out into a cold sweat, then this service is for you. Learn more and participate HERE.

Speaking of all things starry and celestial, if you have not already done so, take a peak at the 2016 Astro RX page – it has the major significant astrological events for 2016 listed, the lunar phases (including time and zodiac sign) for full, new, dark, and first quarter moons, and best of all questions to help each of you turn astrology into something more meaningful and personal than just a bunch of numbers and dates. Enjoy!

Adventures in Soulful Seeking

This month I am keeping the new moon notes fairly short. My wish is that each of you are using this time to make space for grace. And that, as the intrepid travelers in last month’s lunar letter, you find miracles in the everyday.

Words and Wonderings

Let me leave you all with these gorgeous images of our wide, wide, cosmos from NASA and remember:

The beginning is the most important part of any work.” –Plato, The Republic

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Fairy Tales, Blessings, on Working with my Husband and more…

Lunar Letter

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ear Miracles,

La Luna is sitting pretty in the home of Cancer today, and I hope you can take a few moments to breathe in her nurturing goodness. And I have a few notes from the enchanted mountains of Colorado to share with you all!

To newer community members, you have not have heard about my latest offering, Spinning Gold. Go check it out, make yourselves at home! Download the first lesson, listen to my version of the story of Rumplestiltskin, and learn how to make the most perfect and personal prayer bundle ever.

About a year ago I wrote a post on the title Sacred Artist. I am so honored to see more and more folks picking up that title and claiming it for their own, so it was only right that I deliver some thoughts on what the sacred arts actually are.

Along the same lines, I recently guest posted for Deb Smouse’s Summer Love Notes and wrote all about finding the Sacred in the Small.

Our daily blessings were featured on one of our favorite blogs, Phantasmaphile! I highly recommend getting acquainted with Phantasmaphile as it is a wonderful resource full of mythic arts goodness.

You can also view the entire collection of daily blessings right here — share them, tweet them, pin them to your heart’s content, just credit me (Briana Saussy) as the author and Cassandra Oswald as the illustrator.

Want more in the way of mythic arts? Behold my list of the best Fairy Tale resources!

Most of you know that my husband, David, and I are working together now. This has been a dream of ours for a long time and we just got family health insurance so it is REAL! We talked to my dear friend Theresa Reed about the highs and lows of working together, when we first fell in love with one another and even told stories about our first fight! You can read our story and the stories of other successful ‘preneur couples in Theresa’s newest ebook Creative Coupling.

Speaking of Theresa, have you missed an episode or two of our popular show Talking Shop? Every month we feature a guest expert who dishes the dirt and spills the secrets on how to make a mystical business bloom and flourish…and every show is absolutely free. You can catch up right here.

And, while we are on the subject, for sacred artists who are ready to take their business to the next level and need some personal time, love, and tenderness, Theresa is offering a one day retreat this fall that will be delicious and amazing.

My good friends Sara and Joe have launched their new website! Go check it out and give them so love — their products and services are absolutely top-notch!

Jacquelyn and Amelia are showing the world that astrology and style go together like Diamonds and Dior.

Barri Tessler Linden served up some real brilliance on the connection between Money and Health.

Pace and Kyeli have launched a new podcast on the Enneagram (which is fun, crazy and meaningful and highly recommended.

And Harold of Alchemy Works got a shoutout from Mystic Medusa — which was pretty much the most awesome thing to see all week!

I am often asked who my go-to person is for business coaching, advising, and strategizing. I work with my team of course, but when I need an outside perspective that is smart and real and kind there is only one person I talk to…Fabeku.

In totally random news, I have two favorite compilation blogs. They are Brainpickings and Farnam Street — some of you might like them too.

Our summer has been lots of reading, lots of make-believe.

Finally, if you are looking for an online Sacred Arts community that is free and awesome, you may want to join our group. (You will need to wait to have your request to join approved by me, but the wait won’t be long, promise).

Adios for now!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to make a honey jar (with pictures!!!)

Alchemy and Magic

D

ear Miracles,

Life is sweet but sometimes it needs to be a little sweeter, yes? So it is that honey jars were born and have become one of the most popular and well-known techniques in folk magic. Today I wanted to share with you both in words and pictures on how to put a honey jar together.

As it turns out, honey jars are not just for tea and biscuits! There is actually a long history of folk magic traditions working with sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, simple syrup, and other sweeteners to promote love, kindness, joy, harmony, goodwill, and favored status. The theory is simple enough and a great example of sympathetic and contagious magic: because the primary medium (a sweetener of some kind) is used in a directed manner towards a specific person the intention is that said person will become “sweeter,” more kind, tender, loving, and harmonious.

Although “honey jar” is the preferred term, I actually like to use Whole Foods’ vegan sugar in my jars. I like sugar because it is less messy than honey, it’s easy to take petition papers out and add new papers if the need arises, and sugar is also less expensive than honey. I use vegan sugar which might seem strange until you understand that most sugar is processed through filters made of animal bones (due to the high heat required during the refining process). Vegan sugar is not.

honey_jar_contents

Honey Jars and sweetening bottles are created and worked with for a variety of reasons. Some like to make a jar that represents themselves so that they will be kinder and more loving to all of the people in their lives. Others choose to create a honey jar to mark a marriage or special anniversary and to bless a couple with years of love and tenderness. In other cases, honey jars may be used in a more compelling manner–to make a difficult boss like you better, to encourage a judge or jury to find in your favor, or to persuade your students or clients to work with you and follow your lead. Making honey jars is relatively easy; because of this they have become one of the more popular forms of magic–and because of the materials involved, you can get very creative (or stay simple) in the creation process.

First, you need to write a petition:

honey_jar_petition_1

The petition made for a honey jar tends to follow a specific format. First, you will write the name of your target (the person you would like the honey jar to effect), then you will turn the paper 90 degrees and write your name on top of the target’s name. If you are doing a honey jar on yourself then you do not have to do this second step.

Some people like to use pencil for the target’s name and then a pen or permanent marker for their own name–the idea behind this is that permanent ink is “stronger” than a pencil (which can be erased) and therefore exerts more influence. I personally like a strong ink that I can see well for both names. After the names have been inscribed its time to create a magical circle around them like this:

honey_jar_petition_2

During the writing in a circle around the names, the pen cannot be lifted from the paper and this is why it makes sense to use a short and sweet prayer. In this demo, I used the prayer: “love and blessings” over and over again.

An optional but fun step is to embellish the petition paper:

honey_jar_petition_3 (1)

Once the petition is completed you can anoint it with oil and then fold it towards you. Turn the paper 90 degrees and fold it towards yourself again. Now you are ready to add it to the sweetening jar. Different people have different attitudes about the jars themselves. Personally, I like Ball Canning Regular Mouth Half Pint Canning Jars. I like using a regular, inexpensive jar and then embellishing it myself–that is part of the magic! It’s also essential to have a metal/heatproof lid if you want to burn candles on the jar.

honey_jar_complete (1)

You will add your sweetening agent be it sugar or honey but then you will also want to add roots, herbs, and curios that are appropriate for whatever situation you are working on. If you do not know the first thing about herb magic, don’t worry–I have an Amazon store chock full of my favorite herb books! Once you have added what you want in the way of herbs, roots, and curios your jar will look beautiful and you can tuck the petition right in. Make sure that the petition is totally covered by the contents of the jar. Now in some cases at this point, people like to ask if they can use the sweetening agent that is in the jar and the answer is…it depends on what you put in it!

Obviously, if you used any toxic roots or herbs when making the jar you will not be able to consume the sugar/syrup/honey. However, if you used edible plants (of which there are MANY) you can eat the sweetener and you can also use it in baking, cooking, and beverage making. In fact, one very simple and stripped down honey jar spell involves putting a whole vanilla bean into the family canister of sugar–it is believed that this leads to a happy and peaceful home. The sugar, of course, is used in the day to day doings of the family and its magic extends through use!

At this point, you could stop. These days a lot of people are making sugar jars and then they work them and magically impart their intention onto them by praying over them, stating their desires and shaking them rhythmically. However, some of the oldest honey jar workings do center around a candle and adding a candle to your honey jar is a wonderful way to imbue the magic of fire into your work–and it also can provide you with a great focal point as you pray or charge up the jar.

Choose a candle that resonates with you–many people like to work with specific colors of candles. For the demo, I went with a blue and yellow candle since the jar I was demoing was made for love, communication, and healing. You will want to anoint the candle with a ritual anointing oil appropriate to your situation. Hold the candle at heart level and draw the oil from the base of the candle towards your body. You may also want to dress the candle with ground herbs, ground herbs and magical sachet powder, and of course glitter:

dressing_a_candle_for_honey_jar

Set the candle on top of the honey jar and it’s time to light it!

I consider honey jars an endurance type of ritual work. Typically they are fashioned with the intention of being worked for a long time — at least several months and often for years. The jars are usually set up on an altar or dedicated working space. Candles can be burned on them and they can be prayed over and put to work every day, two or three times a week, or on a monthly basis. Pay attention to the way the wax of the candle melts and the way the flame burns when you are working your honey jar–these are two of the main ways that you will receive confirmation and affirmation that your magic is doing its thing! And remember, when in doubt you can always order a custom-crafted honey jar of your very own.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Of Bones and Blessings, Cursings and Curings and Walking in Between

Lineage and Legacy

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ear Miracles: On this day when the veils are especially thin I am thinking of the old saying that in order to know how to heal you must also know how to hex or in order to cure you must be able to curse. Or how about this one from a 14th century Scottish man referring to a local cunning woman:

 

“She was either a witch or a woman of God.”

Indeed.

Any way you slice it, the line between benevolent and baneful magics is ever present and thin — but on days like today it is especially so.

I remember reading in Brian Froud and Alan Lee’s Book Faeries about the Scottish tradition of the Seelie and Unseelie Court — the belief that the Unseelie court of faerie ruled the dark part of the year from Samhain until Midwinter.

The Unseelie court was believed to be composed of the more mischief-making or in some cases downright harmful and deadly faerie creatures. In honor (and fear) of their reign, farmers would leave untouched any crop that had not been harvested by the evening of October 31st-it was considered forfeit — an offering for the faeries and not fit for human consumption.

This is just one of a plethora of traditions found around the world that recognizes the change in power and energy as the life/death/life cycle circles around and around spiraling into the heavens and down into the dark earth. It is those apparently opposing forces that are also at play with the curing and cursing dynamic.

Curing and Killing in Plant Medicine and Magic

01ec8988171811e3bd0922000a1f9039_7As a student of Ancient Greek, among other things, the issue of cursing and curing comes out of language — as is well known in entheogenic circles, the Greek word for poison is the same word for medicine (pharmakon) — where, etymologists may be able to see, we get current words like “pharmacy.”

Many of our natural poisons have incredibly potent healing properties. Consider the digitalis derived from Purple Foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea) that can stop a heart or assist in curing congestive heart failure, the highly toxic Black Henbane (Hyosyamus Niger) that traditionally has worked with to induce visionary trance and the sensation of flying but also as a topical analgesic to relieve pain and swollen joints.

Monkshood (Aconitum) is deadly in the right dose but has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and Belladonna (Atropa Belladonna) is the source for the drug Atropine.

Perhaps most famously, snake antivenins are usually composed from the original venom itself.

Knowledge of the Poison Path (as Dale Pendell terms it) is sought out for many reasons — people want to understand these plants and poisons that have held such allure through time and history, people want to experience hallucinations or get high for recreational reasons, devotees wish to engage in ritual usages –some of which are millenia old, but as Aldous Huxley famously wrote when high on Mescaline, derived from yet another potent plant — Peyote (Lophophora Williamsii), the doors of perception are opened.

The Poison Path is a rich place to begin any consideration of the relationship between curing and cursing because our first and truest teacher — Nature — often combines these elements in the same being. A little too much of that and you are sick or dying, but just the right amount and you can be saved, pain-free, wholesome.

What I have learned in my own practice is that these poisons/medicines have the ability not only to cure or kill, they can pierce through our current perceptions and reveal new possibilities that were hidden behind a veil of illusion.

The idea of being pierced is as old as cupid and even older, I feel it finds one of its most beautiful expressions in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ In Catholic and folk-Catholic-magic traditions the sacred and pierced heart is a requisite for curing or cursing — I believe that in magic period a pierced heart is a requisite because the pierced and sacred heart represents a heart that has been cut, punctured, wounded in some way and yet is still vital, still beating, still blessing, sacral, and sacred.

This sacred heart — often depicted as wrapped in the crown of thorns worn by Christ during the Passion, is pierced by the suffering of humanity as well as the sufferings, large and small, that we all experience in our daily lives. As the heart is punctured so too our sense of safety and security, as the heart is punctured so too our sense of isolation that is questioned, as the heart is punctured so too our moments of selfishness illuminated and called out for what they really are. The pierced heart is experienced by the one who sees beyond the veil — through life experience, through innate wisdom, through plant magic, and most essentially through ineffable mystery.

It is a theme we see in baneful magic again and again — the piercing and puncturing of a heart to wound, curse, or in some cases sting into regret and recognition, and yet having a pierced heart is absolutely emphasized in healing and love work as well.

For me, the iconography of the pierced heart has always spoken not only to the relationship between cursing and curing — but also to the relationship between life and death. And what better time or season to celebrate the way that those two forces dance with each other?

Living in the Southwest where the harvest cycles definitely do not follow that of the Celtic year, I know our own land wights and spirits are on a slightly different calendar, but we have our own versions of the life/death energies — and one of the most popular dualities right now if that of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe: Our Lady of Guadalupe & her skull sister Santisima (or in some areas Santa) Muerte-Most Holy Death or Our Lady Most Holy Death.

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Santisima Muerte

10546008924_86b22e825c_zThese two are actually sister figures — both based on ancient Nahuatl Goddesses. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Catholicized incarnation of Tonantzin while Santisima Muerte is a Catholic-folk and increasingly so-called “narco” saint based on the Lady of Death, Mictecacihuatl. In Nahuatl-Aztec culture Tonantzin was an earth and fertility Goddess, bringing life giving rains to the hills, valley, and canyons, and bestowing life giving properties on the land and the people. To include our sacred plant theme, some believe that Tonantzin is specifically affiliated with the Agave plant and its various ritual and ecstatic uses. Like the Summerian Inanna and her skull sister Ereshkigal — Tonantzin had a relationship with her own shadow sister, Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of Death. In Meso-American culture death was highly esteemed because the ancestors were seen to be guiding forces of both wisdom and prophecy. Therefore the Lord and Lady of Death had to be propitiated whenever someone passed beyond the veil so that they would accept their soul and as it were, make a home for them. Mictecacihuatl possesses the guise of Santisima Muerte — who has interestingly become increasingly allied with those involved in the illegal drug and arms trades in Mexico and the US-Mexican border — but she is also known throughout the Southwest simply as La Huesera –– the bone woman — and is venerated as such, the Mother of death who sings life into the bones so that the cycle may spiral out yet again.

I am always interested in ideas that are apparent opposites but underneath share a solid unity with one another. In the case of hexing and healing or cursing and curing I believe that this foundation is strongly present and the folk magician should at the very least understand the relationship — perhaps as the winds blow from the otherworld into our own they will carry a bit of wisdom with them to aid us in our efforts.

May you all have a beautiful Halloween, Blessed Samhain, and delightful Dia de los Muertos!

A version of this article was printed in Amulet Magazine’s Fall 2013 issue.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.