Discovering our Descendants

Learning and Community

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just finished teaching a two week long training for a group of radiant souls (many of you included!) on working with Ancestors and Descendants in order to create a future that we love.

One of the things that I knew going into this teaching but that I really found to be the case was that the concept of Descendants is still so fuzzy for many of us.

That makes total sense because, as my students can tell you, working with our Descendants is intense – even more so than working with our Ancestors.

Descendant is a term that applies to anything or anyone that comes after you and whose life has been touched by and influenced by you in some way.

If you have children then they are your Descendants. If you have children in your family that you are Auntie/UncleFriend/Godmother/father to then they are also your Descendants.

For all of us, the concept of Descendant goes beyond children.

The secret book locked in your desk drawer, the socks you knitted last Friday, the meal that you are going to make tonight – these are ALL Descendants.

I discovered long ago that working with our Ancestors was only part of the equation. In order to live a fully enchanted life, we need to honor our lineage AND our legacy, our Ancestors, AND our Descendants.

There are a bunch of reasons for this but one of the best is that while our Ancestors help us understand our past and history, our Descendants prepare us to create and hold a particular vision of the future and what is possible.

If the concept of Descendant is new to you that is totally OK!

Start by making a list of who/what your Descendants might be – that’s a very good first step in building a relationship with them.

And if the idea of Descendants has you intrigued and you want to learn more, enroll in the Story Threads Autumn 2020 class – there are two weeks – 10 days of live teaching recordings, over 20 lessons including two original stories and lots of magic ceremonies and rituals to support you in your work, and a wonderful community of brilliant students.

If it sounds like something you might be interested in you can enroll directly right here or feel free to email me and I’m happy to chat about it with you!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The Medicine We Need

Ceremony and Ritual

W

e need to make sure we have all the medicine we need.”

My husband tells me this offhandedly, on his way out of the kitchen with the two boys, the screen door shutting firmly behind him. I open the cabinet, what looks for all the world like an altar to health and convenience and choices. Cough syrups and lozenges, prescription medication to manage my chronic asthma, tonics and tinctures in strange brown glass bottles sitting side by side the Tylenol and Motrin. This is, after all, the medicine cabinet of someone experienced with specialized medicines for serious chronic illness – but it is also the cabinet of a witch. I would expect some dark glass bottles and dried bundled of herbs and homemade balms and I am not disappointed.

I stare at the shelves running through the lists of things a family of four, with two active young children, might need to see them through the Winter. I know I can go to the store to pick up whatever I don’t have, but I don’t take that knowledge for granted the way that I did before Covid, before March of this year, before going to the grocery store became a fraught affair.

How to know, I wonder? How does one know what is needed? The irony of a professional diviner asking how one knows what is needed, how one knows anything really, is not lost on me. I have an answer. I wrote it down in my first book. Pay attention. That is what I have to do, what we have to do, ever and always, pay attention. I look again and wonder aloud: what is the medicine we need?

Candles flicker on the Ancestor altar and the air is full of the golden spice scent of marigolds. Soon I’ll add the sugar skulls. Soon we will write the names of the Beloved Dead on each one. There is one medicine we need, a medicine easily forgotten: the act of remembering. Remembering our Beloved Dead, our lineage of blood and choice, and all of the tangles and gorgeous colors it contains, the stories of our Ancestors.

My gaze drifts over to the charm bag that contains the first locks of hair from one of my baby’s head. We need the medicine of memory and also the medicine of possibility, of dreams, of aspirations. Those are carried in the words I write, the seeds we plant, the sparkle of a gorgeous boy’s eye when he wins the game, and the salty tears of defeat when the day was hard.

I tiptoe out into the garden under the waxing moon, sit on the wooden swing with my cup of steaming coffee and watch as the little opossum we rescued earlier this year noses about in the plants and then scurries up his favorite tree. When he was brought into the kitchen, furry body hanging out of our proud dog’s mouth, I thought for sure he was dead. Then I remembered that opossums are quite good at playing dead. Later that day I watched him move, thinking, mmm, surely his back is broken, this looks bad. A day of recuperation at our local Wildlife center, prayers to St. Francis, and now he is rummaging about the garden as if nothing happened. Resiliency then, that too is a medicine that we need to carry with us through the Winter.

This year marked my 40th birthday. I rang it in by standing in line for 4 hours so that both myself and my beloved could vote. A group of women stood behind me. They all wore black shirts with silk screened lace collars. The shirts said: “We are Ruthless” in a nod of respect to Justice Ginsburg’s recent death. They brought doughnuts to the party, knowing it would be a while before we could cast our vote. Commitment to the possibility of something better. There is medicine we need always, and with plenty of back stock.

The Full Moon is on Halloween. Every elementary school aged child’s heart swells as this undeniable, unbelievable, too perfect to be true, fact. It is proof among the dead grass, sticky caramel-kissed fingers, and October pumpkin-filled air, that magic exists. In this year of all years, that too needs to be carried forward. The magic of an October Full Moon hanging low in the sky as the goblins and ghosts come out for tricks and treats while witches wait for the new year to be ushered in.

Now I’m paying attention. Now I see what we need and I know what to do. In addition to the tried and true medicines of the body, I’ll gather up some further things: Remembering, Stories, Dreaming, Hoping, Resilience, Recovery, Commitment, Betterment, Magic. Pour them into brown glass bottles, braid them together while the leaves are still supple, make a balm with them for chapped hands and lips and souls. I’ll tuck them into the cabinets in between the pain relievers and the thermometers. Now we have the medicines we need.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 22: Go and Help Your Brother

Foundations

I

have been editing my second book, Star Child, all week so I have stars and Zodiac signs on the brain. This Hearth and Home is brought to you by the sign of Virgo, the sign most devoted to being of good help, and the sign that the New Moon occurs today.

“Go and help your brother.”

These are words I utter every day, usually several times, to my oldest son. Sometimes the help is given gladly. Sometimes the heavy sound of sneakers trudging across the wooden floorboards follows my request and I can tell he is a little annoyed. And almost always there is a response and the needed help is given.

You can’t really read the news anymore, you can just doom scroll your way through it and it makes me wonder about help and the stories of help and where they are. For it is exactly in times such as these, in crisis times and fear-ridden times, that we most need to look for the helpers, as Fred Rogers reminds us. Earlier this year when I returned to social media, I was able to highlight the helper stories and share them far and wide, but the stream has slowed to a trickle, the waters are drying up.

“Go and help your brother.” It has become a mantra of sorts, the theme of 2020 is not a word or an image, at least not for me, it is this: Go. And. Help. Your. Brother.

I thought I was uttering it as a suggestion, sometimes a snapped command, to my oldest child but it turns out I have been saying it to my own soul this entire time. What is needed right now? What medicine can begin to heal the wounds and the hurt places? Offering Help. To our brothers, our sisters, our loved ones, to men, women, those in between, and creatures of all kinds. Go and help. It is not a request or a suggestion, it is an inner imperative of the heart. Something we must all do in all of the ways, in all of the times, that we can.

More than that, these are the stories that need to be told, stories of helpers, everyday people, showing up with care and kindness. Their names and their roles are often obfuscated by the bigger events that are happening so I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of them, helpers I have had immediate and direct contact with over this year.

Doctors
Artists
Nurses
Grocery store clerks
Postal Workers
Lab techs
Teachers
Epidemiologists
Ministers
Truck Drivers
Scientists working on vaccines and therapeutics
Priests
Storytellers
Workers in warehouses, slaughterhouses, and fields
First Responders
Witches
Farmers
Professors
Writers
Police
Tarot Readers
Protestors
Grandparents
Shamans
Ranchers
Astrologers
Educators
School Administrators
Stockists
Therapists
Rootworkers
Parents
Children

I see this list as a litany. I say the names and the titles, many of which bring individual beloveds to my mind and I bless them for the ways they show up, the ways they try, for going to help their brothers, for helping me, my family, my friends, my clients, and students, my loved ones.

Being of good help is a theme we find in every major spiritual tradition as well as in the Sacred Arts. The four Tarot cards pictured above, all the Knights in the tarot, are often interpreted as helper figures showing up in our lives in different ways and with different qualities. So it is for us as well, we can show up to help in different ways and with different abilities and qualities at our disposal.

It is easy to think, in these latter days of Dharma as the Mahabharata calls them, that you can’t help. If you don’t know how to start an IV line or hold a line for justice or calm of a line of angry and frightened shoppers then really, what do you have to offer? Bit if there is one thing that 2020 has taught me it is this: That there is always a way to go and help your brother. I am grateful for the lesson.

I want to thank Jacquelyn Tierney/House of Divine Style Stock Photography for making this image available to me. I actually worked with it as a writing prompt which was so much fun!

And now for news from the home front:

Our September has gotten off to a busy start! The highlights include: editing Star Child, planning for the Story Threads class that begins in a few weeks, doing a guest teaching on blessing ways and prayer for a dear friend (I’ll be sharing more about this later), and keeping up with the school schedules of our body.

THE Most Frequently Asked Question of 2020 is: Did you remember to put an extra mask in your backpack?

Mars Retrograde is giving me all kinds of fantastic ideas and so I am doing my best to write them down and take as many notes as possible. We are all spending more time outside because the Gods smiled on us and we are actually having a lovely, cool, September…so far!

We work in the garden, planting seeds, feeding the wild birds and chickens, and leaving offerings for the faeries. We are headed into our favorite time of year and so, we are already talking about the Feast Day of Archangel Michael and how we might arrange the Ancestor altar this time around, and of course, the most important question: WHAT IS HAPPENING FOR HALLOWEEN?

Answer: I don’t know, honestly but we will make it magical, and that is what matters.

As always, from our family to yours, we wish you a beautiful and magical month full of goodness!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 21: Being Seen

Alchemy and Magic

H

appy New Moon in Leo!

I’ve been feeling that Leo vibe this year, more than usual. Necessity, the old proverb goes, is the mother of invention. Challenges to our social habits have forced so many of us to look to images in a fresh way as means of communication, in ways perhaps more pronounced than other years.

My grandfather was a Leo and when I think about the best qualities of the amazing, stellar, lion, I always think about him. Right now, I’m thinking about him a lot.

He showed up fully himself wherever he was. He loved a good party, loved the spotlight, loved drama and excitement. When there wasn’t any drama to be had, he was happy to create it himself!

For me, Leo is all about showing up and letting yourself be seen. If we can’t show up in person, we are forced to find and create other ways to show up. This year I have taken that literally, and I am sharing a lot more on Insta. If you don’t follow me there, you should!

The power of videos and visual storytelling was brought home to me earlier this month when Jasper, our 9 year old, tried out for the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio. This year, auditions couldn’t be held in the usual way, and so every performer needed to make a video – with no pauses or cuts – introducing themselves and performing scales plus 3 different prepared pieces of music.

It was a lot for a 9 year old cello player. On the first day of taping, we had to get the giggles out, but on the second day, he rocked it, and soon after we learned he had been accepted!

What will the city-wide Youth Orchestra look like this year? Who knows! But kids who love music showed up and played their hearts out. In one form or another, the show will go on, and I am fully confident they are going to learn oh-so-much on their journey together. Also, major props to my beloved husband David for making the video happen and for handling ALL music practices at our house…it is a lot of work, and he brings so much excellence to it just holding that space for Jasper.

I have even more exciting visual news. My publishing team and I have decided on a cover for my upcoming book Star Child: Joyful Parenting Through Astrology and I CANNOT WAIT to share it with you all – soon, soon!

Our family has settled into a solid routine. Since school is beginning virtually, we will be able to maintain it, more or less. Jasper is excited to launch into 3rd grade and Heath is delighted to be home and speeding through the neighborhood on his Strider balance bike. He collects little treasures on his walks and delights in harvesting tomatoes and trying to sit on the (very patient) dog.

The boys go for long walks and bring home all kinds of magical goodies. They found the bird’s nest (pictured above for me) and arranged items in it for me too. I love that they put an eye milagro in the nest. It was as if they knew mommy has been contemplating vision and visibility.

I’ve been busy making fall plans for the gardens and for courses and classes I want to teach, including a free call on the upcoming Mercury Retrograde (I’ll probably talk about the Mars retrograde a little bit too) and a brand new offering steeped in magic and story that I am thrilled to share with all of you.

Many of you especially loved receiving a prompt in last month’s Hearth and Home, so here is one for this month:

What am I seeing right now and how am I letting myself be seen?

(The Leos in your life approve of this question, promise!)

As always, from our family to yours, we wish you a beautiful and magical month full of goodness!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 20: Just Add Water

Lunar Letter

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t is hard to believe that I have not sent out a Hearth and Home since December of last year!

There have, of course, been Things Happening. First, for me, was the completion of the manuscript for my second book, Star Child.

I spent January, February, March, April, and May writing, polishing, and writing some more. My original due date was May 1st but due to the Coronavirus and myself and my husband suddenly finding ourselves thrust in the roles of homeschool teachers like so many other parents around the country, I received an extension and finally got the beast in the second week of May.

I am really excited about this book which explores how we can joyfully parent with Astrology as a guide – I think the past months have shown how much it is needed and I cannot wait to share more about it with you all!

At the beginning of March, I was in my beloved New Mexico, celebrating Jasper’s 9th (9!!!) birthday and eating dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with some dear friends.

By the time we drove back to Texas, everything was on lockdown, Spring Break turned into a semester of homeschooling and an appalling number of people grew sick and died from the virus.

Jasper’s school went online and Heath’s, our 2 year old, day school closed altogether for the semester. We found ourselves like everyone else adapting to a new rhythm and facing new questions and concerns, especially when it came to our children.

In our household, one of the things we learned early on was that the boys needed to get outside and move around and stretch their bodies first thing in the morning.

Our schedule morphed from making breakfast, packing up backpacks, ensuring teeth were brushed, diapers were clean, and clothes were on before loading up into the truck to get dropped off at school to herding everyone outside, applying lots of sunscreen and bug spray and making sure bike helmets were securely fastened. During our morning walks, we would chat about the schedule for the day and, after making the block we would return to the house and water the gardens.

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I descend from a long line of farmers and gardeners, that I love plants, and that I grow many of the plants that I work with magically. I noticed though, as this past Spring found me more outside than I had been in a long time, that I had allowed gardening to take a back seat and in particular I had neglected the task of watering – one that I have always loved and enjoyed. Now, while I generally have a tough love philosophy with most of my plant allies (you kind of have to in South Central Texas), I was amazed and a little disappointed that I had somehow become too consistently “busy” to water the garden. The boys turned watering into a grand adventure and unsurprisingly I started seeing growth from plants I had forgotten I had even planted!

We are now in the dead heat of Summer so we have to wake up extra early to water, go for a walk, take care of the chickens, and all of the other animals we share our land with, but we do it and I do it because what I have learned, what I have remembered over the past few months, is that water is magic. Even though we are in the middle of 108 degrees July days our gardens are verdant and beautiful and nourished.

When I think about 2020 I see a year that has been full of what rootworkers call Crossed Conditions. From the virus to the anger on the streets and on the screen to needless and unjust deaths this year has tested all of our mettle.

The oldest understanding of Crossed Conditions is that they are times where we are dried up, dried out, and devitalized. The remedy is an invitation to do the opposite, to add water, to call upon the things that nourish, sustain, and protect…the things that keep us tender. What those medicines are is different for each person but now as we have just passed the mid-point of the year, I encourage yourself a couple of questions – consider it a ritual for today’s New Moon in Cancer.

1. What in my life has gone un-watered for too long?
2. How can I restore it?

The answers will surprise you and the remedies are almost always simpler than we think. Watering as a morning ritual, an act of devotion to our land does not solve all of the problems. It doesn’t make the answers easier either. But it does remind me that amid the dried up times that seem perfectly poised to suck the essence right out of us, there is an ally, a Holy Helper and that sometimes all we need to do is just add water.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

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.